Multistate Telemedicine Laws & Legal Challenges

Multistate Telemedicine Laws & Legal Challenges

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In today’s video, we discuss healthcare legal compliance challenges that an online health and wellness, telemedicine company might face.

I’m Michael H. Cohen, founding attorney of the Cohen Healthcare Law Group. We’ve advised over a thousand healthcare industry clients on healthcare and legal issues.  These clients include healthcare startups that do integrative medicine, functional medicine, telemedicine, they have an MSO serving as the management and marketing arm, whether in a brick-and-mortar setting or via digital or mobile health.

Many telemedicine companies come to our firm looking for legal strategies and solutions to create or expand their digital health platform across states.  Often, these telehealth companies are looking for a multi-state analysis that will help them with compliance.

Today, I’m going to explain some of the legal challenges and our perspective on legal strategies and solutions for telemedicine.

First of all, we often start by simply looking at one state—the toughest state—or perhaps the three toughest states.  Some telemedicine companies have the budget and are looking for a full-throttle review of the law to the nth degree in every state.  The large telehealth clients will even pay to pursue for a compliance opinion from the State Attorney General.  This is an expensive and arduous process.  Not for everybody, it’s an oceanic strategy.

On a smaller scale, what we do, is we first try to carefully review the business model.  In a Legal Strategy Memo, we lay out some of the core legal rules, review potential legal and regulatory challenges and obstacles, and we help you identify key recommendations so the telemedicine companies can evaluate their potential risk.

Typically we are not looking at a yes/no, black-and-white, thumbs up/thumbs down “answer” that tells the telemedicine company: yes, you are compliant, guaranteed for sure, no risk, double down and go for the most model that makes you the most money at the lowest possible labor cost.  That’s not us. We are also not the automatic naysayers.

There are enough robotic lawyers out there – robo-lawyer, the answer is NO, please insert another $20,000.

(Sometimes the answer really is no and it costs $10,000 or $20,000 or more to find out; but do we enjoy always giving a “no”? We enjoy give a very rich and robustly qualified, maybe).

So, if it’s not the YES or NO, where are we?  We are racing toward the yellow and using our professional skill to assess whether that light is likely to turn red or not as we cross the camera zone.

For me, I don’t know about you, it’s how many seconds do I have, how fast am I going, is there a car in front of me, is there a camera, do I really need to make it, do I have crates of eggs on the back seat, does it make sense to slam on my brakes or accelerate, because I’m not just going to cruise toward that yellow light.

So we’re not giving you a thumbs up or thumbs-down gesture.  It’s not “slam on the brakes”, and it’s not “Go 3,000 miles per hour.”

Rather, we are evaluating a spectrum of legal risk and giving our analysis and recommendations; yet the telemedicine company, the healthcare entrepreneur (that’s you!), ultimately makes the business judgment along a spectrum of risk, like any business decision.


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