Since the pandemic, the French have become accustomed to a new way of doing medical consultations: teleconsultation. The principle, you know it: applications like Doctolib allow you to make an appointment with a doctor near you. Once the appointment has been made, the actual consultation takes place via video, via smartphone or computer.
Nobody seemed to have any problem with this very practical mode of consultation for benign ailments. Especially since when a doctor considers that the patient must be physically auscultated, he can absolutely demand it. In fact, there is still one aspect of teleconsultation that raises questions: work stoppages obtained via a doctor different from your attending physician.
Ban teleconsultation? What for ?
But so far nothing too shocking. Indeed, whatever the medical problem, if you contact your doctor, the consultation is reimbursed – otherwise you leave the course of treatment and the latter are therefore at your expense. Teleconsultations are extremely popular in France. According to BFMTV in 2021, more than a million acts of this type were carried out… each month.
Alas, a new amendment to the Social Security Financing Bill (PLFSS) could soon spoil the party. The amendment in question was originally proposed by MP LR Isabelle Valentin. But obviously the provision also has much more to the deputies of France Insoumise (LFI). Since the latter overwhelmingly approved the amendment, as LFI MP Caroline Fiat explains on Twitter:
Victoire ! despite the rapporteur’s unfavorable opinion, we have just voted an amendment to frame teleconsultation with a health professional on each side of the screen! Thing promised, thing due! #DirectAN #PLFSS
— Caroline FIAT (@CarolineFiat54) October 12, 2022
The problem is that the amendment in question de facto prohibits teleconsultation from home, on smartphones and computers. The amendment states: “teleconsultation acts must be carried out through a multidisciplinary health center, a pharmacy or a local authority in order to guarantee better supervision of this practice”.
Concretely, if this amendment were validated, it would mean the end of teleconsultations, since you would de facto have to go to the doctor… to teleconsult. The surprise vote on the amendment in the Social Affairs Committee provoked strong reactions in the hemicycle. The Minister Delegate for Digital Jean-Noël Barrot notably judged that “the united oppositions want to perpetuate medical deserts and jeopardize the health of the French”.
Fortunately, the adoption of an amendment in committee is not final. To become so, the amendment must also be validated in plenary session by a majority of deputies. In any case, we hope that this spotlight on this potentially disabling measure for millions of French people will be enough to ensure that it is not, ultimately, adopted in the final PLFSS 2023.