Telemedicine practitioners must comply with the same fraud and ethics regulations as brick and mortar practitioners. Yet, the telemedicine practice enjoys certain safe harbor protections, as determined on a case-by-case basis by regulatory agencies. Telemedicine exposure to these laws will increase as more consumers access services using Medicare and Medicaid benefits. While all practitioners must exercise caution in not violating patient protection laws, telemedicine practitioners face enhanced risks. For example, the telemedicine practice faces additional scrutiny regarding services supervised, but not rendered, by a licensed practitioner.
As telemedicine continues to permeate society, lawmakers will ideally enact broad legislation, allowing unimpeded growth in the field. Legislators must introduce laws that consider new payment models for telehealth services and license portability. Telemedicine practitioners must lobby for these reforms, as well as a national standard governing the telehealth services that most United States consumers will soon receive regularly vii.