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On February 24, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced its long-awaited proposal for permanent rules regarding telehealth prescriptions for controlled medications. They explained their focus on expanding patient access to critical therapies beyond the May 11 end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Developed with the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the proposed rules propose to extend many of the flexibilities adopted during COVID. 

The proposed rule would allow telehealth prescribing for the following:

  • Consultations that do not involve the prescribing of controlled medications.
  • Consultations by a medical practitioner that has previously conducted an in-person medical examination of a patient.
  • Consultations and prescriptions by a medical practitioner to whom a patient has been referred, as long as the referring medical practitioner has previously conducted an in-person medical examination of the patient.

Proposed Telehealth Prescription Restrictions

The DEA has taken the stance that it must provide safeguards for practitioners who see new patients who are to be prescribed a controlled substance but have not yet received an in-person evaluation of a patient. For these patients, the DEA is proposing that patients be required to obtain an “in-person evaluation or referral from a medical practitioner that has conducted an in-person evaluation, as long as the prescription is otherwise consistent with any applicable Federal and State laws. Under such circumstances, practitioners would be allowed to prescribe:

  • A 30-day supply of Schedule III-V non-narcotic controlled medications 
  • A 30-day supply of buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder.

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has been leading the voice of opposition to limitations imposed on telehealth prescribing since the enforcement of the Ryan Haight Act of 2008. Following the DEA announcement, the…

From Telebehavioral Health Institute – Read More

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