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SPOKANE, Wash. -- The practice of doctors treating patients over the phone, online or by videoconferencing is a growing subset of the health care system.

The Idaho Legislature passed a bill this year calling for stakeholders to set state standards for the practice of telemedicine. Lawmakers see telemedicine as an option to bring health care to sparsely populated rural areas and address a severe doctor shortage in the state.

However, Idaho's medical licensing board earlier this year punished a doctor for prescribing a common antibiotic over the phone. The sanctions against Dr. Ann DeJong are so severe that her board certification is threatened.

The Spokesman-Review reports that the nation's largest provider of telemedicine has pulled out of Idaho, citing regulatory issues.

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