The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has released a timeline for its recently announced telehealth flexibilities for controlled substance prescribing.
During the public health emergency (PHE), DEA allowed flexibilities around telehealth prescribing of Schedule II – Schedule V controlled substances to ensure continued patient access to critical services, including treatment for behavioral health and substance use disorders. Specifically, the PHE flexibilities allowed clinicians to prescribe controlled substances via telehealth without an initial in-person patient visit. Today, DEA outlined the following timeline for the flexibilities:
- Schedule II – V controlled substances can be prescribed via telehealth without an in-person visit until Nov. 11, 2023; and
- If a patient has received a prescription through telehealth before Nov. 11, 2023, there is an additional one-year grace period until Nov. 11, 2024 to allow that patient to have an in-person visit with the practitioner.
ASHP has advocated for more flexibility than what was included in the proposed rules, spearheading joint comments with other pharmacy organizations, as well as submitting separate comments on the buprenorphine and CIII-CV proposed rules.
“We are extremely pleased that DEA was responsive to requests from ASHP and others to extend these flexibilities and to provide a longer lead time for patients to see a practitioner in-person after the flexibilities end,” said Tom Kraus, ASHP vice president of government relations. “We hope the agency will provide a permanent framework that does not limit telehealth prescribing of buprenorphine and provides sufficient flexibility for telehealth prescribing of Schedule III-V medications.”
ASHP will update members as additional information about the extension of DEA telehealth prescribing flexibilities becomes available. Member questions should be sent to Jillanne Schulte Wall.