APA and Other Groups Ask DEA to Permanently Drop Telemedicine Restriction

March 04, 2022

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Seventy-two organizations have submitted a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration requesting a permanent waiver of the requirement that patients be assessed in person before being prescribed controlled substances via telemedicine.

The American Psychiatric Association, the American Telemedicine Association and ATA Action brought all the organizations together.

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According to an APA press release, the DEA is currently developing the special registration process for the use of telemedicine to prescribe controlled substances under the Ryan Haight Act. The agency waived that requirement during the COVID-19 public health emergency, allowing clinicians to prescribe controlled substances via telehealth. The organizations noted in their letter that many patients, especially new patients, will not have access to care after the public health emergency exemption ends.

“It is critical that the DEA and HHS work with Congress to permanently remove the in-person prior requirement and any restrictions on patient location, post-pandemic,” Kyle Zebley, vice president of public policy for the American Telemedicine Association and executive director of ATA Action. “We urge policy makers to consider that, during the pandemic, telemedicine has indeed increased access to needed care for patients in their homes or elsewhere, without increased diversion related to the waiver. We welcome the opportunity to discuss a proposed framework to ensure Americans maintain access to clinically appropriate care.

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