COVID-19 and the Rise of Telemedicine


Bigger Pie Forum | COVID-19 and the Rise of Telemedicine | BPF
One small bright spot in the COVID-19 crisis is that some states, including Mississippi, are reducing some regulations temporarily to help with social distancing, which is designed to prevent the spread of the virus.  The fact that regulators can suspend regulations, which they’d normally defend as essential pillars of public health and safety, reveal that they aren’t really needed for that purpose.  Instead, they’re designed to protect present market participants by erecting barriers to entry for new competitors.
In Mississippi, the Board of Medical Licensure has suspended some of its regulations on telemedicine, by declaring in a proclamation that they won’t enforce its regulations governing telemedicine.  This practice allows a patient in Mississippi to consult with a doctor either via telephone or online video conferencing.  The board will allow Mississippi patients to interface with doctors who aren’t licensed to practice in Mississippi, but who are licensed in another state.
Present Mississippi telemedicine regulations adopted by the board only allow video conferencing and require a physician to be licensed in the state.  These regulations were partially designed to protect the University of Mississippi Medical Center, which has invested heavily in telemedicine using a video conferencing model, from out-of-state competitors.  If these regulations were truly critical to public health and safety, why can they be so easily dismissed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?  The answer is that not doing so could endanger physicians and other medical personnel by not allowing more telemedicine.
The Department of Revenue will allow liquor stores, which also are the only stores in the state allowed to sell wine, to receive call-in orders and provide for curbside delivery to customers.  The liquor store industry has fought successfully in the halls of the Mississippi Capitol to prevent any reforms,

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