New Frequently Asked Questions for Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners

New Frequently Asked Questions for Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners

The Nursing Commission released new frequently asked questions regarding telemedicine requirements in Washington state.

  • Is a registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) required to take telemedicine training?

Yes, licensed nurses (RN, LPN, or ARNP) in Washington State are required to take telemedicine training if the nurse provides telemedicine services. RCW 43.70.495 requires the nurse who provides clinical services through telemedicine independently or under the direction of an authorized health care practitioner to complete telemedicine training. “Telemedicine” as defined in RCW 70.41.020(13) means, “the delivery of health care services through the use of interactive audio and video technology, permitting real-time communication between the patient at the originating site and the provider, for the purpose of diagnosis, consultation, or treatment [but] does not include the use of audio-only telephone, facsimile, or email.”

The Washington State Telehealth Collaborative uses the following slightly different Medicaid definition of telemedicine in the training:

“Telemedicine is when a health care practitioner uses HIPAA-compliant, interactive, real-time audio and video telecommunications (including web-based applications) or store and forward technology to deliver covered services that are within his or her scope of practice to a client at a site other than the site where the provider is located.” WAC 182-531-1730(1). It does NOT include “the use of audio-only telephone, facsimile, or email.” 

  • Does the training requirement apply to a nurse who provides telephone triage?

No, the telemedicine training requirement does not apply to audio-only telephone (telephone triage), facsimile, or email. However, the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC) recommends licensed nurses complete the telemedicine training if they provide services such as; telephone triage, remote patient monitoring (“RPM”, which enables recording and monitoring health data remotely), asynchronous telehealth (such as Store and Forward technology that allows patient data to be collected, stored, and later retrieved by another professional), Mobile Health (“mHealth,” using smart devices such as smartphones and smart wearables that allow continuous data collection about a person’s behavior or condition) or other types of telehealth. The telemedicine training provides a valuable overview of the roles, responsibilities, liability, and legal requirements when providing telehealth services.

  • Does the nurse need to send in the certification to the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC)?

The law, RCW 43.70.495, requires the nurse to sign and retain an attestation of completion. The nurse does not need to send the attestation or documentation to the NCQAC unless requested.

  • When is completion of telemedicine training required?

The Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC) recommends telemedicine training be completed as soon as possible as a demonstration of competency. The licensed nurse (RN, LPN, or ARNP) providing telemedicine clinical services licensed prior to January 1, 2021 will need to complete telemedicine training by December 31, 2021. The newly licensed RN, LPN, or ARNP or the RN, LPN, or ARNP licensed through the endorsement process who provides clinical services will need to meet the requirement one year after the initial license is issued. The Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC) recommends all Washington nurses complete the telemedicine training as a demonstration of competence as soon as practical to provide an overview of the roles, responsibilities, liability, and legal requirements for providing telehealth services.

  • Does telemedicine training taken prior to January 1, 2021 meet the telemedicine training requirement?

Telemedicine training taken prior to January 1, 2021 meets the requirement if it includes the content defined in RCW 43.70.495(2). The RN must be appropriately trained and competent to provide nursing telehealth services. To learn more about the different training options available and access additional resources, please visit the Washington State Telehealth Collaborative Training page. To complete the free and publicly available telemedicine training, please go to this website: Washington State Medical Professional Telemedicine Training.

  • What are the options to meet telemedicine training requirements?

To learn more about the different training options available and access additional resources, please visit the Washington State Telehealth Collaborative Training page. To complete the free and publicly available telemedicine training, go to the Washington State Medical Professional Telemedicine Training page.

You may review additional frequently asked questions related to nursing practice on our Practice web page.

 

Questions?

Contact:

Laura Hofmann, MSN, RN – Director of Clinical and Nursing Facility Regulatory Services
c: 425-231-4804

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