The Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure has amended a telemedicine proclamation and is limiting access to out-of-state physicians for the service.

The Board issued an amended proclamation Tuesday that limited telemedicine for out-of-state physicians not licensed to practice in Mississippi to only those who have an existing doctor-patient relationship rather than any licensed physician. 

On March 15, the board issued a proclamation that said it would not enforce regulations governing out-of-state physicians using telemedicine to treat patients in the state in response to an emergency declaration by Gov. Tate Reeves that urged a reduction of regulations due to the spread of the coronavirus.  

The proclamation would also have the board not enforcing its rules requiring physicians to examine patients prior to prescribing medication, including controlled substances, to encourage the use of telemedicine. That part of the proclamation is still in effect.

Under existing regulations, a physician using telemedicine to treat patients must be licensed to practice in Mississippi.

Getting certified to practice in Mississippi is easier thanks to action by the Mississippi legislature, but the number of physicians going through the process to get certified to practice in Mississippi is likely nil with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mississippi is part of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which has 26 states that have signed up to streamline their normal licensing process for licensed physicians. This provides physicians moving from one compact-participating state to another the ability to get a license in their new state within days rather than weeks or even months.

Those states include: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Washington.

Georgia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia have passed legislature to participate in the compact but has yet to be implemented. Florida, Missouri and South Carolina have introduced legislation to become part of the compact.