Medical board to hold in-person meetings in October

telehealth telemedicine
It will be the first face-to-face meeting in nearly two years.

The Florida Board of Medicine announced Friday it plans to hold its first face-to-face meeting in nearly two years, scheduling a two-day meeting in Orlando Oct. 7-8.

Though the agenda has not been published, the Florida Board of Medicine is expected to discuss updating its rules regarding the care and treatment of patients using medications to lose weight. The rules need to be updated so they comply with the state’s telehealth laws.

In effect for more than two decades, the medication-assisted weight loss rules require physicians to have in-person consultations with patients taking weight loss medications before writing a prescription for a refill or more medication. But the state’s telehealth law doesn’t put that restriction on physicians, which means the rules don’t align with the law.

The Board of Medicine earlier this summer granted a variance from the rule and the face-to-face meeting requirement, to eight New York based physicians who are registered to practice telemedicine in Florida.

But a decision was made at the August Board of Medicine meeting to hold off on updating the rules until members of the Board of Medicine Rules and Legislative Committee, which will be charged with crafting a rewrite for the full board to consider, can meet in person.

The full Board of Medicine has not had an in-person meeting since December, 2019.

Though it planned a two-day meeting at Lake Buena Vista in early August it was cancelled as the delta variant was spreading across the state causing an increased number of COVID-19 infections and a record number of inpatient hospitalizations. The meeting was rescheduled for Aug. 26-27 and held virtually.

Meanwhile, Department of Health Secretary Scott Rivkees issued a public health advisory April 29 recommending “government offices should be conducting in-person operations and services.” But many of the boards that regulate licensed health care professionals have continued to meet virtually.

Rivkees steps down from his position as DOH secretary Monday.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


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