Question Submitted by Shrum, 032420 OKAG, 2020 OK AG 7
|Docket Nº:||2020 OK AG 7|
|Opinion Judge:||MIKE HUNTER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA|
|Party Name:||Question Submitted by: Dr. Kayse Shrum, Secretary of Science and Innovation, Oklahoma State University, Center for Health Sciences|
|Case Date:||March 24, 2020|
|Court:||Oklahoma Attorney General Opinions|
MIKE HUNTER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA
¶0 This office has received your request for an official Attorney General Opinion in which you ask, in effect, the following question:
What restrictions are imposed by Oklahoma law on the use of telemedicine by health professionals responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?
¶1 You have asked us to examine current Oklahoma law on telemedicine as the health system responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. In our view, Oklahoma statutes provide few barriers to healthcare workers addressing the needs of Oklahomans related to this pandemic via telemedicine. The existing restrictions on telemedicine do not appear to hinder effective COVID-19 response. While regulatory bodies have provided more detailed guidance on telemedicine than statute, any non-essential obstacles imposed by such regulations or administrative guidance documents can be amended, suspended, or repealed through emergency rulemaking or other appropriate action by the regulatory entities.
¶2 Licensed physicians in Oklahoma are allowed to practice telemedicine. Specifically, Title 59, Section 478.1 states that "[u]nless otherwise prohibited by law, a valid physician-patient relationship may be established by an allopathic or osteopathic physician with a patient located in this state through telemedicine." And Title 36, Section 6803(A) states that "[f]or services that a health care practitioner determines to be appropriately provided by means of telemedicine" health insurers in this State "shall not require person-to-person contact between a health care practitioner and a patient." Many Oklahoma regulations, such as in the field of mental health and substance abuse treatment, similarly encourage and facilitate the use of telemedicine. See O.A.C. 317:30-3-27, 450:23-3-22, 450:24-1-2, 450:27-1-2. Although the law once required in-person written consent for telemedicine for insurance purposes, see 36 O.S.2011, §...
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