Mississippi has clearly defined laws and policies related to the practice of medicine using telehealth platforms. These policies are detailed in an excerpt from the Mississippi Code below:
“Telemedicine” means the delivery of health care services such as diagnosis, consultation, or treatment through the use of interactive audio, video, or other electronic media. Telemedicine must be “real-time” consultation, and it does not include the use of audio-only telephone, e-mail, or facsimile.
(2) All health insurance and employee benefit plans in this state must provide coverage for telemedicine services to the same extent that the services would be covered if they were provided through in-person consultation.
(3) A health insurance or employee benefit plan may charge a deductible, co-payment, or coinsurance for a health care service provided through telemedicine so long as it does not exceed the deductible, co-payment, or coinsurance applicable to an in-person consultation.
(4) A health insurance or employee benefit plan may limit coverage to health care providers in a telemedicine network approved by the plan.
Mississippi has no unusual rules for what health services are covered in telemedicine treatment settings. There are specific rules on patient eligibility for home monitoring coverage. Mississippi’s rules on remote patient monitoring coverage say an eligible patient must:
- Be diagnosed in the last 18 months with one or more chronic condition, as defined by CMS.
- Have a recent history of costly services, and
- The patient’s healthcare provider recommends disease management services via remote patient monitoring.
Billing codes in Mississippi are straightforward. A “GQ” modifier was previously mandatory for all CMS billing of telehealth services, but recently CMS changed this mandatory policy to allow for only select needs for the modifier. See the most recent CMS update for more information.
Online prescriptions following a telemedicine exam are accepted, alongside traditional phone and fax subscriptions.
Interstate Telemedicine Licensing
A physician who is unlicensed in Mississippi can only practice telemedicine with a patient there if it is a consultation for an in-state physician. Additionally, the in-state, referring physician must meet specific criteria to prove an existing “physician-patient relationship.” A physician without a Mississippi license cannot practice direct-to-consumer telemedicine for a patient in the state.
Provider – Patient Relationship
To offer telemedicine in Mississippi, there needs to be a valid physician-patient relationship. Here are a few ways to establish that relationship:
- Establishing a diagnosis through the use of a patient history, physical exam, etc.
- Insuring the availability of appropriate follow-up care; and
- Maintaining a complete medical record available to patient and other treating health care provider
Parity laws in Mississippi include the stipulation that telemedicine reimbursement rates must equal in-person visits.