Update: DEA Extension for Prescribing Controlled Substances

This message and information are provided courtesy of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

If you prescribe controlled substances and see patients via Telehealth, the following message is for YOU.

The DEA has extended the telemedicine flexibilities enacted during Public Health Emergency (PHE) for prescribing controlled substances via telemedicine. These flexibilities were originally set to expire or be limited when the PHE expires on May 11, 2023.

 DEA Telehealth Rules Update

  1. On May 9, 2023, the DEA and SAMHSA issued the “Temporary Extension of COVID-19 Telemedicine Flexibilities for Prescription of Controlled Medications” – a temporary rule that extends telemedicine flexibilities adopted during the PHE
  2. The temporary rule will take effect on May 11, 2023, and extends the full set of telemedicine prescribing flexibilities adopted during the PHE for six months—through Nov. 11, 2023
  3. For any practitioner-patient telemedicine relationships that have been or will be established up to November 11, 2023, the full set of telemedicine prescribing flexibilities established during the PHE will be extended for one-year—through Nov. 11, 2024

What does this mean for my patients?
If you have established a practitioner-patient relationship via telemedicine by Nov. 11, 2023, you can continue to prescribe controlled substances through Nov. 11, 2024 via telemedicine for that patient. You will still need a permanent license in the state where the patient is located at the time of the visit.

What happens for patients seen via telemedicine for the first time on or after Nov. 12, 2023?
The DEA and SAMHSA will continue to review public comment over the next six months. We expect further guidance during this time period. Once we receive additional information including the final rule, we will inform divisions.

What do I need to do?
At this time, there is no change. Providers can continue to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine. Providers should continue to document and follow existing prescribing rules.

What if I need to prescribe for a patient I have never seen in person?
An in-person exam is not required at this time to prescribe a controlled substance via telemedicine.

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