WASHINGTON, DC, OCTOBER 6, 2023 – The American Telemedicine Association and ATA Action have high praise for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for announcing this morning that they are extending the remote prescription of controlled substances flexibilities that existed during the COVID-19 public health emergency through CY2024. This is the second extension granted by the agencies. The first extension was set to expire on November 11, 2023.
“We are thrilled that the DEA is taking such a thoughtful and thorough approach to creating the right rules around the prescription of controlled substances. This is a critical issue for millions of individuals and their families, as well as clinicians wanting to provide care to their patients, wherever and whenever they need it,” said Kyle Zebley, senior vice president, public policy, the ATA, and executive director, ATA Action. “We have served as the guardians we promised to be for patients benefitting from these services and will continue to work on their behalf to ensure that the final rules do not restrict access to needed telehealth and virtual care services and do not create undue burdens for providers, while preventing diversion.
“What this means is that next year is shaping up to be the Super Bowl for telehealth, with many of the telehealth flexibilities enacted during the public health emergency set to expire at the end of 2024, including the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and Health Savings Account (HSA) telehealth tax provision, geographic and originating sites flexibilities, forestalling implementation of Medicare’s telemental health in-person requirements, Medicare face-to-face telehealth requirements for hospice care and the Acute Hospital Care at Home Program. It is time to quadruple down on our efforts leading into 2024. This is a historic opportunity to make crucial changes to our healthcare system that will appropriately expand access to urgently needed care to some of our most challenged and underserved patient populations. This is not rhetoric, it’s real opportunity that we must not squander.”
ATA Action has worked to provide comprehensive recommendations and guidance on these proposed rules:
- ATA Action Letter to the DEA (September 6, 2023): ATA Action Recommendations to DEA on a Special Registration Process
- ATA Action Letter to the DEA (March 28, 2023): Telemedicine Prescribing of Controlled Substances When the Practitioner and the Patient Have Not Had a Prior In-Person Medical Evaluation
- ATA Action Letter to the DEA (March 27, 2023): Expansion of Induction of Buprenorphine via Telemedicine Encounter
- ATA Action Stakeholder Letter to Congress (November 15, 2022): Stakeholder Letter Urging Congress to Act on the Telehealth High Deductible Health Plan Safe Harbor Tax Provision
- ATA Recommendations (October 21, 2022): Recommendations for Acute Hospital Care at Home Program
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).
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.