DOL updates its Field Assistance Bulletin to confirm that teledoc visits may qualify as medical visits under the FMLA

HR professionals are already well aware that the FMLA is triggered by, among other things, a “serious health condition,” which, oversimplifying, consists of (1) overnight “inpatient care” such as in a hospital, as well as “any period of incapacity” following such inpatient care and (2) “continuing treatment by a health care provider.” The FMLA regulations define the term “treatment” to include “examinations to determine if a serious health condition exists and evaluations of the condition.” See 29 CFR § 825.113(c). And further confirm that only “an in-person visit to a health care provider” will count towards considering “continuing treatment.” See 29 CFR § 825.115(a)(3).

Now, as so-called telemedicine (aka, “teledoc”) appointments become more popular, especially during the current pandemic, the DOL just updated its Field Assistance Bulletin to confirm that some teledoc appointments may count in-person “continuing treatment.”

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.

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