COVID-19 Telemedicine Update

To Our Valued Clients and The Market We Serve:

Acadia Professional: COVID 19 Telemedicine Update

We hope that our clients and all healthcare providers are staying safe as they help our nation get through this unprecedented time.  Acadia continues to receive numerous inquiries related to telemedicine, as our clients throughout the country have implemented, or are exploring, telemedicine treatment options.  Ensuring that care provided during this time is covered by medical professional liability insurance (MPLI) has clearly been on the minds of many.  In response, please note below.

Broad Coverage:

Most MPLI policies provide broad coverage for professional services.  Assuming telemedicine activities are consistent with the customary practice of medicine, then they would generally be covered.  This would apply to home healthcare as well.

It is always important to confirm that no “exclusions” on a policy limit such coverage.  For example, some policies will not cover out-of-state exposure – an important provision related to telemedicine.  If you have any concern or doubt about exclusions on your policy, review your policy form or contact your broker.

Most policies do not provide coverage for acts that are in violation of the law.  There are several state and federal laws governing the use of telemedicine.  The key issues relate to HIPAA privacy laws and state licensing requirements.

Complying with state and federal laws

Federal:

The Federal government has issued guidance on how it “will not impose penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered health care providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.”

See https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/emergency-preparedness/notification-enforcement-discretion-telehealth/index.html for more information, particularly on the communication mediums approved for telehealth.

State

Most states require that physicians be licensed if they treat patients there. Each state has its own framework for how to comply with its regulations.  It is important for physicians to understand these rules prior to expanding telehealth services into states in which they are not licensed.

Ongoing Duty of Healthcare Providers

Healthcare professionals should continue to adhere to traditional informed consent and standard of care practices.

Emergencies, Medical Judgment

When in doubt, always act in the best interest of your patients – particularly in an emergency.  Physicians have broad protections when they come to the rescue of patients in need.  From a coverage standpoint, Acadia will always fight to ensure coverage extends to our clients who exercise their judgement to help patients who require medical attention.

For more information, or to confirm that your policy covers the specific activity you provide or are planning to provide, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Thank you for all you do.

Questions? Contact Brian S. Kern, JD
bkern@acadia.pro | 862.325.5903


Disclaimer:
Please be advised that Acadia cannot and does not provide specific legal advice.  Please contact a specialized healthcare attorney for more information. 

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