Indiana has taken another step towards expanding the meaningful use of telemedicine in connection with clinical services and prescribing. HB 1337, signed by Governor Eric Holcomb and effective July 1, 2017, will allow providers to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine without an in-person examination, albeit with some notable limitations and restrictions. The law reverses Indiana’s 2016 telehealth law that prevented providers from prescribing controlled substances via telehealth technologies.
Under the new law an Indiana provider may prescribe non-controlled substances via telemedicine, without an in-person exam, if the following conditions are met:
Under the new law an Indiana provider may prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine, without an in-person exam, if the prescriber satisfies the conditions outlined above and the following conditions are met:
While Indiana’s new law removes its prior blanket ban on telemedicine prescribing of controlled substances, it still requires the patient to undergo an in-person exam conducted by an Indiana health care provider, although not necessarily by the prescriber herself. This renders Indiana law more restrictive than many states, and even more restrictive than the federal Ryan Haight Act. The new law follows a growing trend among states to amend and eliminate prior statutory prohibitions on telemedicine prescribing of controlled substances. Michigan, for example, recently enacted a law to eliminate its previous ban, and now allows health professionals to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine without an in-person examination.
This is encouraging news for providers using telemedicine in their practice, as controlled substances are an important and clinically significant component of certain specialties, including telepsychiatry, endocrinology, and hospitalists/emergency medicine.
Telemedicine prescribers should continue to be mindful of prescribing requirements under federal laws, as remote prescribing of controlled substances is governed by the Ryan Haight Act. Providers must understand and navigate many intersecting state and federal laws on telemedicine, medical practice, fraud and abuse, and controlled substances.
© 2017 American Health Lawyers Association. Washington, DC. Reprinted with permission.