Michele Satterlund recently wrote a comprehensive overview of legislative battles waged in state capitals across the nation over efforts to ban or restrict ocular telehealth — eye care services via telecommunications technology such as smartphones.
The analysis, published in the May edition of Digital Health Legal, notes the policy debate between traditional “brick-and-mortar” medical eye care professionals and the burgeoning telehealth industry.
“As more technology stakeholders have entered the ocular care market, the arguments for and against have gotten more heated,” wrote Satterlund, a McGuireWoods partner and a senior vice president for state government relations with McGuireWoods Consulting in Richmond.
South Carolina, she noted, was among the first to take on the issue with ocular telehealth restrictions it passed in 2016 — overriding then-Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto in the process. A year later, she wrote, Virginia became the only state to pass legislation that affirmatively allows the use of remote technology to perform an eye exam for the purpose of prescribing, though other states permit contact lens and eyeglasses prescriptions under general telemedicine rules.