WASHINGTON, DC, MAY 9, 2023 – The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and ATA Action issued the following statement in response to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) temporary extension of COVID-19 telemedicine flexibilities for the remote prescription of controlled substances.

“The ATA and ATA Action strongly commend the actions that the DEA has taken, jointly with SAMHSA,  in temporarily extending flexibilities for the remote prescribing of clinically appropriate controlled substances for six months, through November 11, 2023. Further recognizing the importance of continuity of care for these patients, and responding appropriately and thoughtfully to the countless concerned Americans who commented on earlier draft rules, the DEA and SAMHSA have issued a temporary rule granting a one-year grace period (through November 11, 2024) for any practitioner-patient telemedicine relationships that have been or will be established on or before November 11, 2023,” said Kyle Zebley, senior vice president, public policy, the ATA, and executive director, ATA Action. “It is especially important and encouraging that these actions cover access to clinically appropriate prescriptions of controlled substances that patients need for a wide variety of medical circumstances, including for mental health and substance use disorders.

“We are hopeful that during this extension period, the DEA will revise the draft rules to address unnecessarily restrictive barriers to equitable and appropriate clinical care, such as mandating in-person visits. The ATA and ATA Action are committed to continuing our work with the Agency and others to help create the most effective and appropriate rules that ensure access to needed treatments,” Zebley added.

In March, ATA Action submitted comprehensive suggestions for ways to improve the DEA’s proposed rules for the remote prescribing of controlled substances, to ensure patients do not lose access to necessary treatments which, prior to this extension, were to take effect when the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) ends May 11.

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.

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Gina Cella

t: 781-799-3137