In response to Drug Enforcement Administration proposals to limit telehealth prescriptions for buprenorphine and other controlled substances after the COVID-19 public health emergency to a 30-day supply unless the prescriber or referring clinician have evaluated the patient in person, AHA today urged the agency to establish a special registration process (as statutorily mandated) to waive the in-person evaluations for practitioners who register with the DEA. Until then, AHA strongly urged the agency to continue to waive the requirement as it has during the COVID-19 public health emergency, among other changes.
“We are concerned that these limits are arbitrary, unnecessarily burdensome, and will reduce access to critical care,” AHA said. “In addition, while some patients may benefit from a periodic in-person evaluation, the need for in-person evaluation should be left to clinical judgment, rather than enforced through a general requirement that ignores case-by-case needs.”
AHA also urged the agency to remove unnecessary recordkeeping requirements; clarify that only one member of the patient’s care team must evaluate the patient in-person; add circumstances under which schedule II and narcotic medications are eligible for telemedicine prescribing without a prior in-person exam; and extend the six-month transition period to patient-provider relationships established after the COVID-19 PHE. For buprenorphine specifically, the AHA recommended extension of in-person visit waivers under the opioid PHE.