The often contentious California legislature passed the Telehealth Advancement Act of 2011 without opposition achieving broad advances in the expansion of medical services in rural areas of the state. It expands the Telehealth Development Act of 1996 to all licensed health care providers and proscribes insurance plan requirements for an in person relationship to obtain consent. Consent can be verbal and must be recorded. Failure to obtain consent is deemed "unprofessional conduct."
The new Act provides for advancing hospital credential approval of distant consultants and specifies that insurance companies may not place limits on settings where telehealth services may be provided. The Act does state that it is not to be used to mandate telehealth service in settings that insurance companies deem inappropriate.
The Legislature in enacting the law sought to dispel any doubt about the future of telemedicine in California.
It is the intent of the Legislature to recognize the practice of telehealth as a legitimate means by which an individual may receive health care services from a health care provider without in-person contact with the healthcare provider.