WASHINGTON, DC, JANUARY 31, 2023 – The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and ATA Action issued the following statement, following reports that President Biden will end the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency on May 11.

“President Biden, leaders in the administration and our bipartisan telehealth champions in Congress have taken a clear and consistent stance in support of telehealth throughout the public health emergency and we see no indication that their support will stop with the end of the PHE,” said Kyle Zebley, the ATA’s senior vice president, public policy, and executive director, ATA Action. “However, the ATA and ATA Action implore our government leaders to provide a sense of certainty to a huge cohort of individuals requiring access to important medications for substance use disorders and other necessary drugs via telehealth after May 11. Unfortunately, flexibilities allowing for remote prescribing of controlled substances, as part of the Ryan Haight Act, currently expire with the PHE. Without a plan in place, these vulnerable populations will be left out in the cold, and we are quite sure this is not the intent of our government leaders.

“The ATA and ATA Action have been urging the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to release its rules for special registration for telemedicine, which will hopefully be a new pathway to continue providing this care post-pandemic. However, we are extremely concerned as those rules have been required since the original Ryan Haight Act was passed in 2008 and reiterated in statute by Congress in 2018, but we have yet to see them published. There is now an extreme sense of urgency with the public health emergency ending in only a few months,” added Zebley. See most recent letter to DEA from a variety of stakeholders last November.

About ATA Action

ATA Action recognizes that telehealth and virtual care have the potential to transform the healthcare delivery system by improving patient outcomes, enhancing the safety and effectiveness of care, addressing health disparities, and reducing costs. ATA Action is a registered 501c6 company and an affiliated trade organization of the ATA.

About the ATA

As the only organization completely focused on advancing telehealth, the American Telemedicine Association is committed to ensuring that everyone has access to safe, affordable, and appropriate care when and where they need it, enabling the system to do more good for more people. The ATA represents a broad and inclusive member network of leading healthcare delivery systems, academic institutions, technology solution providers and payers, as well as partner organizations and alliances, working to advance industry adoption of telehealth, promote responsible policy, advocate for government and market normalization, and provide education and resources to help integrate virtual care into emerging value-based delivery models.