Reed Smith Client Alerts

In France, a quiet revolution may well be underway: in response to the widespread of the Covid-19 epidemic, a Decree No. 2020-227 of 9 March 20201 considerably simplifies the legal framework for teleconsultations, by adopting for the first time derogatory telemedicine conditions for patients exposed to or infected with Covid-19. Although these new rules are now part of a context of public health emergency and therefore are intended for a transitory period - until April 30, 2020 - they could foreshadow a major challenge to the French regulatory framework in force before the health crisis, as such framework imposed additional requirements compared to the majority of OECD countries. 
family with two children

First, the Decree significantly simplifies the conditions for patient access to telemedicine. It abolishes the two existing preconditions for accessing teleconsultation that were necessary before the crisis, in order for the teleconsultation to be reimbursed under the French social security scheme:

  • On the one hand, teleconsultation will be possible even if the HCP carrying out the consultation is not the patient's referring physician2 (médecin traitant); 
  • On the second hand, it is no longer necessary that the teleconsultation be preceded by a prior in-person consultation with the HCP within a twelve months period. 

Teleconsultation is therefore no longer part of the “continuous healthcare pathway” intended and recommended, for example, for patients with chronic diseases, but rather addresses an emergency situation, since all patients who do not have a referring physician or whose referring physician is not available in a timeframe consistent with their health condition will be able to benefit from teleconsultation.