When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in early 2020, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced a set of waivers to make it less difficult for healthcare providers to prescribe controlled substances by means of telehealth consultations. The modifications exempted providers from essential provisions of the Ryan Haight On the internet Pharmacy Customer Protection Act, a 2008 law developed to cease providers from writing prescriptions without having a meaningful examination of individuals. These exceptions have been set when the government’s official public well being emergency ended on May well 11.
But just just before that deadline, the DEA announced a short-term extension of the pandemic waivers. The agency stated it would let the existing exceptions to the Ryan Haight Act to continue for an additional six months, by way of November 11. The agency also announced an extra one particular-year grace period for circumstances exactly where a provider-patient connection is initiated prior to the November 11 deadline. That suggests individuals who obtain prescriptions for controlled substances primarily based on telemedicine visits can continue getting these prescriptions without having an in-individual pay a visit to to their prescriber by way of November 11, 2024, supplied the provider-patient connection starts just before November 11.
A single explanation for the delay is the huge quantity of public comment on the subject. The DEA stated it had received 38,369 public comments on its proposed guidelines. The agency stated it demands time to “closely review” these submissions.
Kyle Zelby, executive director of the ATA Action, the lobbying arm of the American Telemedicine Association.
The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) hailed the extension, calling it a “reprieve” for telehealth, and an chance for the agency to reconsider proposed permanent guidelines, which the association believes would be also restrictive.
“We are hopeful that throughout this extension period, the DEA will revise the draft guidelines to address unnecessarily restrictive barriers to equitable and suitable clinical care, such as mandating in-individual visits,” stated Kyle Zebley, the executive director of the ATA’s lobbying arm, ATA Action.