Doctor has prescription power revoked in telemedicine case

Telemedicine has become a much more commonly accepted way of treating patients for Pennsylvania doctors. They are able to examine patients more quickly, and then determine if a patient's condition is serious enough to require an in-person appointment. It is also convenient for patients, especially in more rural areas, as they do not have to drive great distances to see their doctors.

However, with the increased reliance upon telemedicine, there is increased pressure on doctors to ensure that they develop accurate treatment plans for these patients. Finding the right course of action can be difficult when the individuals are not physically present in the same room, and it can lead to serious problems for doctors. Doctors could even be facing the potential suspension of their medical licenses due to some of the decisions made while treating these patients.

Recently, a Utah doctor lost his license to prescribe medication after a telemedicine incident. The situation concerned the prescription of the drug Suboxone, which was given to three individuals that the doctor only examined via a video conference. The drug is commonly used to reduce the dependence on pain medication or to treat individuals addicted to heroin. Two of the three patients who received the drug were pregnant, and their infants had to be closely monitored for signs of withdrawal.

The state's review board, in issuing its emergency order to revoke the doctor's prescription authority, believed that the doctor needed more personal contact with his patients before prescribing Suboxone. The doctor refutes the boards allegations, claiming that his methods are helping to eliminate some of the problems connected to the abuse of painkillers. He has stated that he is considering legal action against the board, stating that it did not follow the proper procedures when it was investigation the claims against him.

For those doctors that practice telemedicine, cases like this may start to become more common. They will need to be especially careful when writing prescriptions to certain drugs, and perhaps even conduct in-person examinations in some circumstances. As boards continue to adjust to telemedicine, doctors need to stay informed regarding the issues that could result in a license suspension.

If you learn that you are the target of an investigation, you need to be sure that you take immediate action to protect yourself. Speak to an attorney who has experience defending the licenses of medical professionals. You need to be very aggressive when responding to these allegations, as your livelihood is potentially at risk. If the board decides to revoke your license, you may have to spend a considerable amount of time and money trying to regain the privileges that you lost.