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AB-175 Medical telemedicine: optometrists.(2009-2010)

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Assembly Bill No. 175
CHAPTER 419

An act to amend Section 14132.725 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to telemedicine.

[ Approved by Governor  October 11, 2009. Filed with Secretary of State  October 11, 2009. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 175, Galgiani. Medical telemedicine: optometrists.
Existing law, the Medical Practice Act, regulates the practice of telemedicine, defined as the practice of health care delivery, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, transfer of medical data, and education using interactive audio, video, or data communications.
Existing law, until January 1, 2013, authorizes “teleophthalmology and teledermatology by store and forward” under the Medi-Cal program, to the extent that federal financial participation is available. Existing law defines “teleophthalmology and teledermatology by store and forward” as an asynchronous transmission of medical information to be reviewed at a later time by a physician at a distant site who is trained in ophthalmology or dermatology, where the physician at the distant site reviews the medical information without the patient being present in real time.
This bill would expand the definition of “teleophthalmology and teledermatology by store and forward” to include an asynchronous transmission of medical information to be reviewed at a later time, for teleophthalmology, by a licensed optometrist.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 14132.725 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

14132.725.
 (a) Commencing July 1, 2006, to the extent that federal financial participation is available, face-to-face contact between a health care provider and a patient shall not be required under the Medi-Cal program for teleophthalmology and teledermatology by store and forward. Services appropriately provided through the store and forward process are subject to billing and reimbursement policies developed by the department.
(b) For purposes of this section, “teleophthalmology and teledermatology by store and forward” means an asynchronous transmission of medical information to be reviewed at a later time by a physician at a distant site who is trained in ophthalmology or dermatology or, for teleophthalmology, by an optometrist who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 3000) of Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code, where the physician or optometrist at the distant site reviews the medical information without the patient being present in real time. A patient receiving teleophthalmology or teledermatology by store and forward shall be notified of the right to receive interactive communication with the distant specialist physician or optometrist, and shall receive an interactive communication with the distant specialist physician or optometrist, upon request. If requested, communication with the distant specialist physician or optometrist may occur either at the time of the consultation, or within 30 days of the patient’s notification of the results of the consultation. If the reviewing optometrist identifies a disease or condition requiring consultation or referral pursuant to Section 3041 of the Business and Professions Code, that consultation or referral shall be with an ophthalmologist or other appropriate physician and surgeon, as required.
(c) Notwithstanding Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, the department may implement, interpret, and make specific this section by means of all county letters, provider bulletins, and similar instructions.
(d) On or before January 1, 2008, the department shall report to the Legislature the number and type of services provided, and the payments made related to the application of store and forward telemedicine as provided, under this section as a Medi-Cal benefit.
(e) The health care provider shall comply with the informed consent provisions of subdivisions (c) to (g), inclusive, of, and subdivisions (i) and (j) of, Section 2290.5 of the Business and Professions Code when a patient receives teleophthalmology or teledermatology by store and forward.
(f) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2013, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2013, deletes or extends that date.