COVID-19 News, Information, and Resources
- Latest News
- Telemedicine During the State of Emergency
- Information for Patients
- Other Sources of Information
12/31/2020 All physicians and their staff who are in direct contact with patients are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine - see the Provider Information manual at the COVID-19 resources page of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama
12/21/2020 Board amends temporary emergency licensure rules to clarify the areas of practice a temporary emergency licensee and to remove the restriction prohibiting the prescribing of controlled substances via telehealth.
- In order to practice safe social distancing and inhibit the community spread of COVID-19, the Board and Commission encourage practitioners to utilize telehealth visits whenever it is prudent to do so. Board and Commission rules will be interpreted broadly during the health emergency.
- Physicians may not refuse to treat existing patients. If you do not have the manpower, equipment, etc., to treat the patient, and treatment via telemedicine is not possible or appropriate, you should assist the patient in finding another provider.
- Many regulatory bodies and third-party payors have relaxed requirements previously in place surrounding telehealth. Please review the information below for more on these relaxed regulations.
- Please see our page concerning telemedicine for a more detailed discussion of licensure requirements, prescribing controlled substances via telemedicine, and third party payors.
Can I legally have telephonic/electronic medical encounters and prescribe, including controlled substances, to the patient?
BME/MLC: There are no rules that prohibit this during an emergency. See the Board's joint announcement with Board of Pharmacy regarding enforcement discretion.
DEA: DEA has relaxed its regulations for the duration of the health emergency to allow for controlled substances prescribing via telemedicine without having performed an in-person examination with certain requirements.
CMS: CMS has relaxed its regulations or the duration of the health emergency regarding the necessity of an in-person examination to treat/prescribe via telemedicine.
HIPAA: HIPAA rules have also been relaxed for telemedicine.
What is the licensure requirement for telemedicine?
Physicians: Alabama full traditional license, a license via the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, or special purpose license to practice medicine across state lines.
Physician Assistants: Alabama license to practice as a physician assistant and approved registration to a supervising physician.
NOTE: In the event of a national emergency, natural disaster, or state emergency, a physician assistant may provide emergency medical treatment without immediate physician supervision or direction to patients within the affected areas of the state, provided that the treatment is within the scope of the assistant’s education, training and approved job description. The physician assistant in such circumstance shall make reasonable efforts to inform his or her supervising physician of the location and type of emergency medical services being provided and shall act in conformance with the direction of local medical supervisors. The authority granted under this paragraph shall extend only for the duration of the declared national emergency or state emergency or natural disaster.
If you need to refill your medication but can’t get in to see your physician, pharmacists have been authorized to process emergency prescription refills for a 30-day supply if:
- The pharmacist is unable to readily obtain refill authorization from the prescriber.
- The original prescription is maintained in the dispensing pharmacy’s files.
- The prescription is not a medicinal agent listed in Schedule II.
- The medication is essential to the maintenance of life or the continuation of therapy in a chronic condition.
- The dispensing pharmacist creates a written prescription order containing all of the prescription information required by federal and state statutes, rules and regulations.
- The dispensing pharmacist notifies the prescriber orally or in writing of the emergency dispensing within seventy-two (72) hours after such dispensing.
ADPH maintains a web page containing a situation summary and information for patients.
If you suspect you have COVID-19, call ADPH at 1-888-264-2256 or visit their COVID-19 web page for information and instructions about screening for COVID-19. Many hospitals in the state are offering drive through testing.
The Department of Public Health also maintains current information regarding vaccinations.