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New Laws that Impact Practitioners

Peer-to-peer consults allowed across state lines

As of July 25, 2021, Washington state allows peer to peer consultation across state lines regarding the diagnosis or treatment of patients. Senate Bill 5423 gives the Washington Medical Commission statutory authority to say, “Yes, a doctor can consult with another physician on care, even if that person is not licensed in Washington.”

Before this law a 2018 WMC policy stated peer-to-peer consultation was acceptable without a license. This law mirrors actions taken in 30 other states and opens up possibilities for physicians to share expertise.

For more information, email: Stephanie.Mason@wmc.wa.gov

Physicians can bill for audio-only services

Telemedicine law has changed regarding billing. With the passage of House Bill 1196, health insurers must now reimburse providers for health care provided by audio-only.The law is effective July 25, 2021. Previously physicians could only bill for audio-video telemedicine or in-person visits.

Providers must note – you are required to obtain consent from the patient before the audio telemedicine visit in order to bill for the service and you must have a relationship established with the patient through an in-person visit.

For more information, email: Stephanie.Mason@wmc.wa.gov

Supervision of MAs via telemedicine

Starting April 14, 2021, providers may supervise their medical assistants during a telemedicine visit using interactive audio and video technology. House Bill 1378 passed this year, enabling this practice.

Before this law, a health care practitioner had to be present on site while a medical assistant was performing tasks associated with a telemedicine visit. Now, physical presence in the same facility is no longer required during a telemedicine visit, so long as the other requirements regarding delegation are met.

Medical assistants should email questions to: medical.assistants@doh.wa.gov.