Florida Telehealth Panel To Finalize Recommendations For Distance Medicine

Oct 16, 2017

A statewide panel is set Tuesday morning to approve its final recommendations on the use of so-called “distance medicine” in Florida.

Telehealth or telemedicine is when a doctor uses technology to virtually consult with or treat a patient.


Lawmakers have long quibbled over which health providers should practice telehealth and how insurance should cover it.

Created by the legislature last year, the 18-member Telehealth Advisory Council’s job was to investigate and make recommendations to divided state officials. In a draft report previewed in a conference call about a week ago, board members seemed to eye mandating commercial insurance cover telehealth services in the same way as face-to-face consultations.

The council also supports federal and state efforts to make Medicaid and Medicare coverage of telehealth services less restrictive.

After the final vote, the council’s report will be presented to the governor, the senate president, the speaker of the house and the Agency for Health Care Administration.

A bill implementing many of the initial recommendations will be considered the upcoming legislative session.

Even though there isn’t currently a statewide regulatory framework in place for telehealth, that hasn’t stopped patients and providers around the Sunshine State from using technology to make health care more accessible.

Ryan Benk can be reached at rbenk@wjct.org, at (904) 358 6319 or on Twitter at @RyanMichaelBenk.