State Medical Licensure Board recommends telemedicine during coronavirus outbreak

Updated: Mar. 16, 2020 at 8:32 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Governor Tate Reeves’ State of Emergency regarding coronavirus prompts the State Board of Medical Licensure to take action.

The agency will lift restrictions that will help reduce doctor-patient contact and the spread of the virus.

"If you can avoid in person contact, you should," said Ken Cleveland.

The Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure Executive Director said the agency has issued an emergency proclamation during the coronavirus outbreak that will better protect doctors and patients while reducing patient travel.

The board changed regulations now urging physicians and physician assistants to communicate through telemedicine.

"We are allowing that phone call to count as a visit with the doctor so that those prescriptions can be refilled without an actual person to person visit," added Cleveland.

This applies to the state's 12,000 physicians and 1,000 physician assistants who write prescriptions.

The licensure board also is allowing out of state physicians to practice telemedicine without being licensed here, as long as they contact the board for authorization, are licensed and in good standing where they practice.

“This is a great relief to many people,” said Clinical Health psychologist Dr. Geralyn Datz. She has practices in Hattiesburg and Jackson.

Datz said the board's decision to encourage telemedicine could help reduce COVID-19's spread.

"The current recommendation from the CDC is to keep about a six foot distance from yourself and another person and obviously in a waiting room environment that's not always possible and in our practice and many others we're encouraging patients not to congregate in waiting rooms," said Datz.

The State Board of Medical Licensure’s telemedicine regulation will remain in place until the State of Emergency is lifted.

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