Alabama Governor Kay Ivey recently signed SB 272 into law, setting forth telemedicine practice standards and abolishing Alabama’s previous “special purpose license” that allowed physicians licensed in other states to practice across state lines into Alabama. The law is effective July 11, 2022.
The law creates a new article in the Code of Alabama (Sections 34-24-701 through 34-24-707 of Chapter 24, Title 34). The statutory language is lengthy, but the key provisions are summarized below.
Unless the physician meets an exception to licensure (e.g., peer-to-peer consultations, irregular or infrequent services), a physician must obtain either a full Alabama medical license or a license via the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact in order to provide “telehealth medical services” to a patient located in Alabama.
A physician-patient relationship may be formed via telehealth without a prior in-person exam.
A practitioner may prescribe a legend drug, medical supplies, or a controlled substance to a patient via telehealth. However, a prescription for a controlled substance may only be issued if:
If a physician or practice group provides telehealth medical services more than 4 times in a 12-month period to the same patient for the same medical condition without resolution, the physician must either see the patient in-person within 12 months or refer the patient to a physician who can provide the in-person care within 12 months. This in-person visit requirement does not apply to the provision of mental health services.
The Alabama Board of Medical Examiners and the Alabama Medical Licensure Commission are currently developing administrative rules in accordance with the new law.
For more information on telemedicine, telehealth, and virtual care innovations, including the team, publications, and other materials, visit Foley’s Telemedicine Practice.