On May 9, 2023 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued the “Temporary Extension of COVID-19 Telemedicine Flexibilities for Prescription of Controlled Medications.” This temporary rule extends the telemedicine flexibilities adopted during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) that allowed the prescribing of controlled medications via telehealth encounters without an in-person medical evaluation of the patient.
The full set of telemedicine flexibilities for prescription of controlled medications that were in place during the COVID-19 PHE will remain in place through November 11, 2023. The temporary rule will allow any practitioner-patient telemedicine relationships that have been or will be established on or before November 11, 2023 to continue under the full set of telemedicine flexibilities until November 11, 2024.
Currently, the DEA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are reviewing comments to two notices of proposed rulemakings (NPRMs) published on March 1, 2023. The purpose of the two NPRMs was to make permanent some of the telemedicine flexibilities established during the COVID-19 PHE. The temporary rule will enable DEA and SAMHSA to review and respond to the 38,369 comments they received in response to the two NPRMs.
The COVID-19 PHE temporary exceptions were granted via two letters published in March 2020: