Chapter 112 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 2D the following section:-
Section 2E. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:
“health professional”, an individual who is engaging in the practice of a health profession, including an oral health provider.
“telehealth”, the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies to support or promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health or health administration. Telehealth may include, but is not limited to, telemedicine.
“telehealth service”, a health care service that is provided through telehealth.
“telemedicine”, the delivery of a health care service using electronic communications, information technology, or other electronic or technological means to bridge the gap between the health care practitioner who is located at one site, and a patient who is located at a different, remote site, either with or without the assistance of an intervening health care provider, and in accordance with the provisions of this act. “Telemedicine” does not include the use, in isolation, of audio-only telephone conversation, electronic mail, instant messaging, phone text or facsimile transmission.
(b) A health professional shall not provide a telehealth service without directly or indirectly obtaining the patient’s consent for treatment.
(c) The board shall promulgate regulations to implement this section, including regulations regarding the appropriate use of telemedicine to provide health care services. These regulations shall provide for and include, but shall not be limited to: (i) prescribing medications; (ii) services that are not appropriate to provide through telemedicine; (iii) establishing a patient-provider relationship; (iv) consumer protections; (v) requirements to inform a patient’s primary care provider regarding the services provided, with the consent of the patient; and (vi) ensuring that services comply with appropriate standards of care.
(d) Health care services provided by telemedicine shall conform to the standards of care applicable to the telemedicine provider’s profession. Such services shall also conform to applicable federal and state health information privacy and security standards as well as standards for informed consent
(e) A health professional who is providing a telehealth service may prescribe the patient a drug if (i) the issuance of a prescription based on a telehealth encounter shall be held to the same standard of care or practice standards as are applicable to in-person settings and (ii) the drug is not a controlled substance.
(f) The board may place restrictions or conditions on a health professional’s ability to provide a telehealth service if the board determines that the health professional has violated subsections (b) through (e).
(g) This section shall not authorize the provision of a health care service otherwise prohibited by law.
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