On March 12, 2014, Board of Osteopathic Medicine’s Rule 64B15-14.0081 went into effect wherein the Board set forth standards for telemedicine practice for Florida licensed physicians. Rule 64B15-14.0081(4) specifically precludes physicians from prescribing controlled substances through the use of telemedicine.
Shortly thereafter, the Board began to receive reports from physicians and hospital representatives that expressed concern that the Board’s standards for telemedicine practice rule precludes physicians from ordering controlled substances through the use of telemedicine for their hospitalized patients. Rule 64B15-14.0081(4) precludes the prescribing of controlled substances through the use of telemedicine, but it was never the Board’s intent to preclude the use of telemedicine modalities to order controlled substances to hospitalized patients.
The aforementioned controlled substance prescribing prohibition has inadvertently created doubt amongst physicians about their ability to order controlled substances through the use of telemedicine for their hospitalized patients. This doubt likely arises from the lack of clear definition for the term “prescribing” as set forth Florida Statutes. Therefore, the Board of Osteopathic Medicine has filed a narrowly tailored emergency rule amending Rule 64B15-14.0081 to clarify that the ordering of controlled substances for hospitalized patients through the use of telemedicine is not precluded by Rule 64B15-14.0081(4).
This emergency rule, which goes into effect on May 5, 2014, is designed to prevent patient harm, does not harm licensees or any health care practitioners in any way, and most importantly clarifies the limited scope 64B15-14.0081(4).