WASHINGTON, DC, MARCH 29, 2023 – ATA Action officially submitted comprehensive comments regarding the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s proposed rules regarding the remote prescribing of controlled substances. In two letters to the DEA, ATA Action outlined well-documented suggestions for ways to improve the draft rules to maintain mechanisms to prevent diversion while ensuring patients do not lose access to necessary treatments.
“We appreciate DEA’s responsibility to write rules that provide effective controls against diversion and protect public health and safety but believe that the requirement that a patient see a clinician in-person is not an effective control against diversion and, instead, simply limits access to legitimate health care,” noted Kyle Zebley, executive director, ATA Action, in the letter to the DEA. “We are concerned that in-person requirements will exacerbate existing inequities in the health care system, as it will only serve patients who have the ability to see an in-person provider and misses the point that telehealth provides the unique ability to increase access to care to previously left-behind populations.”
In two 12-page letters to the DEA, which include 38 clinical citations, ATA Action noted that there are an ever-increasing number of patients who cannot or will not seek treatment in-person. “These are the patients who will fall through the cracks under these rules, creating a significant and avoidable public health crisis.”
- ATA Action’s Letter to the DEA: Telemedicine Prescribing of Controlled Substances When the Practitioner and the Patient Have Not Had a Prior In-Person Medical Evaluation
- ATA Action’s Letter to the DEA: Expansion of Induction of Buprenorphine via Telemedicine Encounter
“…We believe that not creating a special registration process for providers wanting to practice legitimate telemedicine is a missed opportunity for both expanded access to care and for DEA’s ability to identify providers operating legally and appropriately from those that are not. Under a special registration regime, DEA could track and manage legitimate providers and therefore more easily identify illegitimate ones,” Zebley concluded. “This could also solve the issue for pharmacists if they were able to access a list of prescribers who had registered with DEA. One course of action to support the removal of the in-person requirements would be to replace the in-person requirements with the statutorily required special registration process. ATA Action stands ready to assist in the efforts to finalize this rule in a way that appropriately balances the need to prevent diversion and to increase access to health care.”
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 entity and an affiliated trade organization of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).
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CONTACT: Gina Cella