Ohio Bill Aims to Regulate Doctors Practicing Out of State
The Ohio General Assembly on Dec. 6 passed a measure that would make it illegal for out-of-state doctors to practice medicine, including diagnosing conditions and prescribing medications online, in Ohio without a state medical license, the Akron Beacon Journal reports. Tom Dilling, executive director of the Ohio Medical Board, said, "Whether it's the Internet, phone or smoke signals, the expected standard of care is that you see a patient and establish through physical exam what is needed." He added that online or phone prescriptions are acceptable as part of an "ongoing doctor-patient relationship" that involves some in-person consultation. Web sites and doctors that only offer medical advice will not be affected by the law, which is waiting for Gov. Bob Taft's (R) signature (Wheeler, Akron Beacon Journal, 12/7).
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina is working with IBM Corp. to create more options for customers and health care providers accessing the insurer's Web site, the Columbia State reports. Currently, customers can track claims and read information on topics such as explanation of benefits. Within the next year Blue Cross hopes to enhance the site's features to include email correspondence and 24-hour online customer service (Collier, Columbia State, 12/5).
HIP Health Plan of New York has been listed among the nation's top 500 "most innovative corporate users of information technology" according to InformationWeek's annual list. The list identifies innovative methods through which companies from 24 different industries use technology to "gain a business advantage." As part of its "innovative technology systems," HIP implemented HIPUSA.com, which offers consumers a "virtual eCustomer" center and interactive voice response technology. HIPUSA.com users can perform provider searches, access online prescription services, request special forms and ID cards, and "validate" provider and member eligibility, among other services (HIP Health Plan of New York release, 12/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.