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Louisiana Department of Health Directs Louisiana Healthcare Providers to Transition All Services to Telehealth When Medically Appropriate

On March 19, in further response to the public health emergency that he declared on March 11, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a proclamation announcing additional measures to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus in Louisiana and specifically encouraging the use of telehealth.  See Louisiana Governor Encourages the Use of Telehealth During Coronavirus Emergency.  On March 21, in an effort to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus and to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and to utilize hospital staffing, equipment, and bed capacity for the transition to the coronavirus emergency, the Louisiana Department of Health issued an updated notice specifically mandating that, effective immediately, healthcare providers “transition all in-person healthcare services to a telehealth mode of delivery, when medically appropriate and when the same standard of care can be met as an in-person visit.”  In fulfilling this mandate, the updated notice further provides that healthcare providers (a) “shall make a determination about the appropriateness of telehealth on a case-by-case basis,” (b) “may encounter legitimate and valid barriers to telehealth delivery and may not be able to shift all services to telehealth,” and (c) “[if] acting in good faith shall not be found to be in violation of this directive.”  Finally, the updated notice confirms that this mandate applies to all licensed health care facilities in Louisiana and all healthcare professionals licensed, certified, authorized, or permitted by any board, authority or commission under the Department.