By Jennifer Jones Thomas

In December of 2018, the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners (“The Board”), approved adoption of an amendment to the rules governing the practice of telemedicine.  The Board published a Notice of Intent for the amendment in April of 2019 in the Louisiana register with the amended Rule becoming final on August 20, 2019.  Prior to the amendment, the Board’s Rule permitted physicians using telemedicine to be at any location at the time the services are provided; however the patient receiving the telemedicine services must be “in any location in this state at the time that the services are received.”   LAC 46:XLV.7505C.  The Board’s amendment to the rule deletes the words “in this state.”   The intent of the amendment is to “not inadvertently prevent physicians from prescribing medication or other health care services to their patients who may be vacationing or temporarily outside of Louisiana.”  This amendment answers a common question of what a physician can do to help an established patient who is temporarily out of state and becomes ill.  With this amendment, a Louisiana-licensed physician would not be prevented under Louisiana law from assisting the patient by prescribing medication.  However, the Board cautions that engaging in such activity may or may not be lawful or permitted by the medical licensing authority in the state in which the patient is located.  Therefore, before prescribing medication or providing other medical services to a patient on vacation in a state other than Louisiana, a physician would be wise to check the telemedicine rules established by the state where the patient is located.