Teladoc pulls out of Idaho, citing regulatory issues

adutton@idahostatesman.comApril 11, 2014 

A business that allowed 20,000 people in Idaho to call a doctor with routine medical concerns has stopped providing service in the state.

The service was available to Idahoans since 2008, generally as an employee benefit.

The company "voluntarily suspended its service in Idaho" in February because of a "difference in interpretation between Teladoc and the Idaho Board of Medicine regarding state regulations" on telemedicine services, according to a Teladoc spokesman.

Nancy Kerr, executive director of the board, said the issue arose over prescriptions written by telemedicine doctors.

"It's basically an invalid prescription if you don't have an ongoing relationship, or haven't examined the patient," she said.

The board in January disciplined out-of-state doctor Ann De Jong for violations stemming from her work for a telemedicine service, Consult A Doctor Inc., including prescribing medications. The board said De Jong cannot provide telemedicine to Idahoans.

Doctors who are licensed in Idaho can prescribe drugs to telemedicine patients if, for example, the doctor is working through a hospital's rural-telemedicine program, Kerr said.

Teladoc says on its website that its doctors can write prescriptions, but that Teladoc is "not a drug fulfillment warehouse."

Telemedicine could include e-mail, video or telephone consultations.

"Teladoc seeks to work cooperatively with the [board] to address this matter," said Teladoc spokesman Mike Crouch. "Once the matter is addressed, Teladoc will continue its commitment to delivering quality, compliant services to our clients in the state of Idaho."

Audrey Dutton: 377-6448, @IDS_Audrey

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