Ms. Rhonda Freeman
Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure
1857 Crane Ridge Drive, Suite 200 B
Jackson, MS 39216
Re: Proposed Rules Part 2640
Dear Ms. Freeman:
On behalf of The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), thank you for accepting input from interested stakeholders as you consider the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure proposed rules for Part 2640. ERIC is the only national association that advocates exclusively for large employers on health, retirement, and compensation public policies at the federal, state, and local levels. We speak in one voice for our members on their benefit and compensation interests, including many members with employees and retirees in Mississippi.
Part 2640 Proposed Rule 1.11(A)(2) in its current form provides that in order to issue a prescription for all prescription medication, a physician must “conduct an appropriate history and physical examination of the patient that meets the applicable standard of care.” While we understand the severity of the opioid crisis and the need to provide additional restrictions around those substances, applying a “physical” examination requirement for any prescription drug, such as an antibiotic, could stymie the use of telemedicine in the state.
Recently, in December 2017, the Board adopted telemedicine rules that require an “appropriate examination” of the patient before diagnosis or treatment. That rule allows the examination to be via telemedicine if the technology is sufficient to provide the physician with the appropriate information. We ask that Proposed Rule 1.11 be clarified so that prescriptions for non-controlled substances do not require an in-person examination so long as the technology used allows the physician to meet the appropriate standard of care.
As plan sponsors, ERIC members strive to provide the best health care possible to their employees, retirees, and families at an affordable cost. We seek to enhance our members’ ability to provide high-quality, affordable health care, and we recognize the significant opportunity provided by telemedicine to modernize health care delivery and improve access to quality medical care for workers and their dependents. Telemedicine minimizes the time spent attending a health care provider visit, making telehealth a great value to working parents, caregivers, and others struggling to balance work and family demands. It also provides access to care for rural and urban underserved populations, retirees, the elderly, disabled employees, and those with language barriers, chronic conditions, or transportation barriers that may otherwise not have access to care.
Thank you for accepting our input on this rule. ERIC is pleased to represent large employers with the goal of ensuring that telemedicine benefits are accessible for millions of workers, retirees, and their families. If you have any questions concerning our comments, or if we can be of further assistance, please contact me at agreathouse@ERIC.org or 202-627-1914.
Associate, Health Policy