Telemedicine Measure Fails, But Hope Remains for Next Year

Feb 26, 2019

Credit Brandon Giesbrecht / Flickr

For now, Virginia doctors will be writing prescriptions for Virginia patients. But, that could change next year.

Republican Delegate Terry Kilgore wanted Virginia to be on the vanguard of telemedicine, allowing a host of new smartphone apps to be able to allow Virginia patients to log on and get a prescription from doctors in Connecticut or California. Lawmakers rejected that idea, but Kilgore is undeterred.

Read More: Should Virginia Expand "Telemedicine?"

“Some of the companies don’t like that," he says. "But in a legislative session sometimes you get what you can get and move on and come back and fight the battle again next year and that’s what we’re going to do.”

In the next year, state officials will be conducting a study to see if there are any potential problems with out-of-state doctors writing prescriptions for Virginia patients.

Lauren Toomey at Americans for Prosperity says that study could make Virginia a leader in telemedicine.

“There’s actually no data about the reciprocity component and how it affects health outcomes throughout the country," says Toomey. "So moving to a study is actually pretty exciting because Virginia will now have the data and be able to set the precedent for telemedicine and reciprocity throughout the country.”

Lawmakers did approve a bill that allows Virginia doctors to write prescriptions for Virginia patients without seeing them in person. Kilgore says lawmakers can always come back and expand that to out of state doctors next year — if the study shows there are no negative health consequences.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.