Telemedicine / Telehealth

Below is information about Telemedicine/Telehealth in Mississippi. Click on the title below for more information on the topic.

What is telemedicine?

Miss. Code Ann. § 83-9-351 (2017): “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.

What is the difference between telemedicine and telehealth?

Telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services and telehealth can refer to remote non-clinical services, such as provider training, administrative meetings, and continuing medical education, in addition to clinical services.

Why is telehealth important for rural providers?

Telehealth connects rural providers and their patients to services at a distant site. This capability enables patients to receive care in their communities and avoid long travel times. Given the shortage of some medical specialties in rural areas of Mississippi, telehealth plays an important role in ensuring the patients in rural communities can access the care they need. For example, a primary care provider (PCP) in the Delta region needs to refer a patient to a Stroke Specialist in an area where no such specialists practice. With telehealth, the PCP may be able to leverage telecommunications technologies to connect the patient with a specialist at a remote site instead of asking the patient to travel to another community to obtain the care required.

Does my health insurance have to cover telemedicine visits?

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A health insurance or employee benefit plan may limit coverage to health care providers in a telemedicine network approved by the plan.
  • A doctor-patient relationship is usually required prior to an audio-only telehealth visit.
  • The law prevents insurance providers from forcing patients to use an in-house telemedicine program.

Is telemedicine here to stay?

  • Telemedicine is now a permanent fixture of healthcare in Mississippi, as Senate Bill 2738 has been signed into law.