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I. What are the licensure requirements in Idaho for telehealth mental health care?

Idaho’s licensure requirements for telehealth and telehealth mental care are broadly similar in that providers must be licensed to practice in Idaho when providing care to a patient situated in Idaho. Under normal circumstances, treatment by out-of-state caregivers who don’t have a license to practice in Idaho is prohibited.

Requirements for out-of-state treatment

Idaho is a member of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. Physicians wishing to practice in multiple states need only submit one application for licensing in states where they wish to practice. However, it is required that the state, in this case, Idaho, must issue the license for a physician desiring to practice interstate in Idaho. There are similar compacts for nursing and EMS, but none for mental health specialists.

Emergency licensure

In 2020, the Governor of Idaho suspended several rules related to telehealth to support the state’s response to COVID-19. These relaxed requirements provided greater freedom to use online video conferencing tools and eased requirements for out-of-state licensing. This relaxation included allowing doctors, physicians, physician assistants, and respiratory therapists to treat patients without an Idaho license. In June 2020, the governor made these rules permanent.

II. What are the online prescribing regulations in Idaho?

Idaho online prescribing regulations require that physicians must have established a provider–patient relationship. This should include sufficient documentation to verify diagnosis and treatment. Should this not exist, the provider must take appropriate steps to establish that relationship. In the context of telehealth in Idaho, this would entail your participation in a live face-to-face video consultation.

Assuming the provider-patient requirements of section 54-5705 of the Idaho Code are met, the provider may prescribe you prescription drugs with the exception of controlled substances.

III. What are other common telehealth restrictions in Idaho?

In all instances, providers must obtain your informed consent before providing telehealth services. They should take reasonable steps to verify your identity as well as your location in Idaho. All treatment should meet Idaho’s applicable standards of care, which are the same as those related to face-to-face, in-person medical care. While Idaho Medicaid reimburses services, there are no parity laws in place for private payers.

Types of telehealth services allowed

Idaho telehealth laws only allow live video consultations. Video consultations must be in real-time. Video and audio quality must have no distortion or lag in transmission and be of sufficient quality to ensure effective interaction between your provider and yourself. A number of certified rural health clinics have authorization for use as distant sites.

No other forms of telehealth services are allowed. Store and forward consultations cannot be used, and your consultation can’t be voice-only or by email or fax.

Types of providers allowed to offer telehealth services

The following providers can offer telehealth care services to patients. In all instances, the service must be conducted through a live, real-time video feed.

  • Doctor or physician
  • Physician assistants
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Licensed speech therapist
  • Physical therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Psychiatrists (during a crisis)
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioners (during a crisis)
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Nurse-midwife

Medicaid will normally reimburse your provider if the Idaho Medicaid requirements for telehealth services are met. If you have private health insurance, you need to determine if your provider will pay for telehealth services in Idaho.

Emergency allowances

During the COVID-19 emergency, the Idaho State Board of Medicine relaxed certain licensing requirements. These apply for the duration of the public health state of emergency.

Licensed physicians, doctors, physician assistants, and radiotherapists from another state or country who are in good standing can now treat Idaho patients without an Idaho license. Practitioners who retired or went inactive in the last five years can apply for a temporary license to practice, provided they are in good standing with the Idaho Board of Medicine. Physician assistants may treat patients unsupervised. Also, physicians may provide supervision to physician assistants without registering as a supervising physician.

IV. Telehealth provider resources in Idaho

Telehealth offers speed, convenience, privacy, and a similar degree of care as a visit to the doctor’s consulting room. Telehealth providers must adhere to strict standards of service and in Idaho must offer a live video link for the consultation. You can see and speak to your physician while they evaluate your condition as they would in a face-to-face situation. Here are some resources about telehealth regulations in Idaho.

Idaho Department of Insurance

The Idaho Department of Insurance exists to protect consumers by ensuring equitable and fair insurance cover. You can obtain help and assistance on medical and other insurance matters from its consumer bureau. Website links provide additional information about short-term health insurance plans, and there’s a comprehensive section on Medicare for the elderly.

Contact Information: Website | 208-334-4250

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare helps people find answers to health and welfare issues. The department offers a range of services, including a care line, Medicaid support, family support, and community health. There’s useful information on the website and a list of contact numbers for members of the public seeking information and help.

Contact Information: Website | 877-456-1233

Idaho Board of Medicine

The Idaho Board of Medicine regulates physicians, surgeons, and other health care professionals. Its purpose is the protection of the general public. The website contains information of general medical interest, telehealth regulations, and COVID emergency regulations. There’s a list of physician registrations in Idaho as well as access to a database of out-of-state physicians.

Contact Information: Website | 208-327-7000

V. Sources