AMS Trustees Address Tort Reform and Telemedicine

During the 2016 AMS Annual Meeting, the Board of Trustees voted to support a proposed Arkansas constitutional amendment that would limit attorney fees and allow the General Assembly to adopt caps on non-economic damages for medical malpractice lawsuits. The amendment has been filed and is currently gathering signatures. At least 83,000 valid signatures will be needed in order to place it on the November ballot. Watch for more information in future AMS Alerts/News briefs.

The Board also voted to support a rule to be promulgated by the Arkansas State Medical Board that will allow Arkansas licensed physicians to establish a patient-physician relationship utilizing real-time two-way audiovisual telemedicine technology.

The proposed rule would set a standard that the information obtained using this technology must be equal to or better than what would otherwise have been obtained during an in-person visit. Arkansas statutes as well as regulations of the ASMB require the existence of a patient-physician relationship prior to the provision of medical care. Currently, an in-person examination is required to establish that relationship. There are additional provisions in the rule that establish standards and requirements for any physician who utilizes telemedicine technology to deliver medical care. The proposed regulation does not allow audio-only (telephone) encounters to establish the relationship. View the proposed rule here.

In other actions, the Board of Trustees voted to support a resolution calling on the American Medical Association to fight attempts by the United States Pharmacopeia to eliminate rules that currently allow in-office compounding by physicians for preparations such as allergen extracts. The Board also voted to upgrade the AMS website to make it more user friendly to mobile users.