Sample telemedicine policy for originating sites

Telemedicine is a rapidly expanding activity, and more hospitals are making use of telemedicine resources. The regulatory and accreditation standards for the privileging of telemedicine practitioners have been in flux over the past decade. Some of this flux has been caused by the changing position of CMS regarding telemedicine credentialing. As a result, The Joint Commission has updated its telemedicine standard frequently and at the time of this publication, it can be found in the Hospital Accreditation Standards at MS.13.01.01.

It is also important to observe that telemedicine and telehealth have been the subject of considerable state legislation in recent years. Therefore, it is important to look up the latest approach taken by a hospital’s state legislative body, medical licensing board, and health regulatory bodies before finalizing or revising any policy addressing telemedicine.

In general, hospitals can choose to credential and privilege telemedicine practitioners in a manner consistent with any other practitioner who applies for privileges. For institutions that do not use The Joint Commission accreditation for deemed status purposes, licensed independent practitioners who provide services through a telemedicine link are credentialed and privileged under the contracted services standards (LD.04.03.09). If an organization has a pressing clinical need and a practitioner can supply that service through a telemedicine link, the organization can evaluate the use of temporary privileges for such situations.