News: DEA temporarily extends pandemic rules for medications acquired through telehealth

CDI Strategies - Volume 17, Issue 20

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has extended its May 11 deadline to November 11 for physicians and clinicians administering controlled medicines or buprenorphine under temporary pandemic rules, according to a DEA temporary rule released last week.

The extension comes after much backlash towards the DEA’s proposed rule issued this past February, which would grant remote clinicians the ability to prescribe their patients a 30-day supply of controlled drugs but would also require an in-person visit for future prescriptions, according to Medscape Medical News.

“Patients and clinicians praised the eased rules for making it easier to access treatment for substance abuse, pain, and ADHD and said that in-person requirements would be a barrier to care,” Medscape Medical News reported.

The DEA has argued that in-person visits would put a damper on governmental fraud and abuse; however, according to Dori Martini, the vice president of Government & Regulatory Affairs at the Circle Medical group, “federal inspector general reports and investigations during the pandemic found that cases of fraud via telehealth in the Medicare program have been rare.”

Clinical telehealth relationships established before November will be allowed to continue for an additional year, through November of 2024.

Editor’s note: You can read the Medscape article here.

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