While you were celebrating your December holidays, the Department of Labor issued a Field Assistance Bulletin [pdf] addressing this issue.
Thankfully, the DOL took a common sense and practical approach to address this issue.
WHD will consider a telemedicine visit with a health care provider as an in-person visit … provided specified criteria are met.
To be considered an "in-person" visit, the telemedicine visit must include:
- an examination, evaluation, or treatment by a health care provider;
- be permitted and accepted by state licensing authorities; and,
- generally, should be performed by video conference.
Communication methods that do not meet these criteria (e.g., a simple telephone call, letter, email, or text message) are insufficient, by themselves, to satisfy the regulatory requirement of an "in-person" visit.
Bravo Department of Labor. It's a rare and refreshing treat when we can use the adjectives "practical" and "common sense" to describe an opinion of a federal agency.