Thursday, July 8, 2010

Send Your Patients to Michigan

Summer vacations will leave doctors and patients in different states. The idea that medical care occurs in the state where the patient is located prevails, so if the patient's physician does not hold a license in that state the licensing board there could accuse the physician of practicing without a license, even because of a simple telephone contact to discuss a symptom or side effect. I have been contacting licensing boards where my patients may travel this summer to learn about their policies.

As I mentioned in my last post on this topic when I called the Michigan Bureau of Health Professions a gentleman there asked me to write a letter. I may have misunderstood the purpose of the letter at the time, but I believe the same gentleman clarified in a recent follow up call. He suggested the letter should indicate the approximate dates when my patient would be in the state of Michigan. He said the letter would be kept on file and that I would not be required to hold a Michigan license to contact the patient by telephone or video conference, regardless of whether I charge a fee for the service provided the patient remained in the state of Michigan for 30 days or less.

This strikes me as a reasonable and fair approach. One might argue with the 30 day limit, but in fairness I did not get the impression that this was a rigidly enforced time limit.

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