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

Michigan’s licensure requirements, which are comparable to other states, include a mandate for any health care provider to obtain a license to practice in the state before providing you with medical care. This includes telehealth and telemental services. Michigan joined an interstate licensure compact to expedite this process.

Requirements for out-of-state treatment

Michigan law requires that out-of-state health care professionals must be licensed in the state of Michigan before providing you with telehealth services. Fortunately, Michigan recently joined the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), which expedites the licensure process, so it’s easier for out-of-state practitioners, such as psychiatrists and therapists to provide you with telehealth services.

Emergency licensure

Michigan regulations allow medical professionals to render aid during a disaster without requiring a license to practice in the state. Executive order No. 2020-86, which was issued at the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency and will remain in effect until the declaration of the end of the health emergency, extends this exemption to out-of-state providers. The state also created temporary waivers for out-of-the-country medical personnel who meet specific requirements to practice instate.

II. What are the online prescribing regulations in Michigan?

Michigan law does allow online prescribing through telehealth, but with many restrictions. The prescribing physician must deem the medication medically necessary and refer you to another health care provider in your geographic location or to emergency services for follow-up care. Regulations for online prescribing don’t require an in-person visit to establish the doctor-patient relationship. To prescribe controlled substances, the health care provider must establish a bona fide doctor-patient relationship, which includes a review of medical records and numerous additional specifications. The COVID-19 health emergency has caused the suspension of many of these restrictions and has even led to permanent changes to accepted originating sites resulting from new legislation.

III. What are other common telehealth restrictions in Michigan?

Michigan law allows telehealth appointments to be conducted over HIPAA-secure audio-only methods of communication in addition to live, two-way audio and video interactive conferencing. Store-and-forward and remote monitoring services weren’t permitted until the implementation of the COVID-19 emergency provisions.

Types of telehealth services allowed

Michigan law allows for the reimbursement of health care services provided via HIPAA-secure, real-time interactive telecommunication through audio, video, or a combination of both means.  The law specifies that insurers may not require in-person contact with your doctor for reimbursement of services but that you must have the ability to interact virtually with the health care provider. Michigan’s definition of reimbursable telehealth appointments excludes store-and-forward services and remote monitoring but does include audio-only telephone communication. Originating sites were previously restricted for Medicaid services until recently passed legislation expanded accepted sites to now include your home.

Types of providers allowed to offer telehealth services

Michigan doesn’t have a specific list of provider types that are authorized to provide telehealth services, except that providers must be authorized, certified, or licensed to practice in the state.

Emergency allowances

Executive order No. 2020-86 expanded telehealth services in Michigan in the following ways:

  • Store-and-forward services are permitted
  • Remote monitoring is permitted
  • Any requirements for in-person visits to establish the doctor-patient relationship are suspended
  • Any requirements for in-person examinations before issuing prescriptions for controlled substances are suspended, except for prescriptions of methadone

IV. Telehealth provider resources in Michigan

The following resources can provide you with additional information regarding regulations in Michigan that affect access to telehealth services, including updates about COVID-19.

Michigan Department of Health & Human Services

The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services offers information about health-related topics, such as pediatric telemedicine, COVID-19, and Medicaid. The agency also manages a program entitled Michigan Bridges. Michigan Bridges provides a streamlined application process for you to gain access to benefits such as health care coverage, state emergency relief, and cash assistance.

Contact Information: Website | 517-241-3740

Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services

You can access a variety of health care information at the DIFS, including COVID-19 insurance information, Michigan’s insurance marketplace, and Medicare and Medicaid guidelines.

Contact Information: Website | 877-999-6442

The Office of the Governor

You can stay updated about COVID-19 emergency provisions and be informed about how they may affect your access to telehealth services through the Office of the Governor.

Contact Information: Website | 517-373-3400

V. Sources