Corporate influence a barrier to telehealth at practices

Although practices typically consider the regulatory barriers to telehealth to be about reimbursements or privacy, an overlooked legal area are rules prohibiting the corporate practice of medicine and the grey area of "friendly PC models," Daniel Gottlieb, associate attorney at EpsteinBeckerGreen in Washington, D.C., wrote in a blog post last week. Some state laws (although not in Hawaii, Mississippi and Ohio) require the licensed physician to make the management decisions and bar nonclinical individuals or businesses from influencing the physicians' professional judgment.

Although the commonly used "friendly PC model"--in which a managed service organization employs the physician owner--avoids violations, there is no hard-and-fast rule on when such an arrangement is considered a corporate practice of medicine, the attorney wrote. Gottlieb noted rulings from state medical boards have been inconsistent, and he encouraged telehealth arrangements that fit within the law. Article