Mississippi docs oppose telephone-based telemedicine bill, cite need for visual component

The Mississippi State Medical Association and more than 60 state physicians and medical students oppose a bill in the state House that would allow out-of-state physicians to treat patients by telephone, reports The Vicksburg Post.

They oppose House Bill 1178, saying the visual component is vital to good telemedicine.

"It lets out-of-state companies off the hook. They are not responsible for their patients' outcomes or follow-up care," Sam Crosby, M.D., president of the Mississippi Academy of Family Physicians, says in the article. He adds that "good telemedicine means audio and real-time video."

At the same time, the docs point to the University of Mississippi Medical Center as an example of how telemedicine is done right. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also recently announced a telehealth project in Mississippi to help rural veterans gain better access to care.

Meanwhile, bills before the state House and Senate to have Mississippi join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact won't have the intended effect, Shirley Svorny, a professor of economics at California State University-Northridge and adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, argues in a guest column in The Clarion-Ledger.

While she advocates increased use of telemedicine for Mississippi, House Bill 41 and Senate Bill 2412 would merely create another layer of bureaucracy and costs, since the compact does not eliminate the most significant barrier to interstate practice, the requirement that physicians be licensed in every state in which they practice.

To learn more:
- here's the Vicksburg article
- read the Clarion-Ledger column