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March 26, 2020

Not All Benefit From DEA's Changes to Controlled Substance Prescribing via Telemedicine

The DEA recently issued a policy that authorizes DEA-registered practitioners to issue controlled substance prescriptions to patients without requiring an in-person medical examination so long as the current public health emergency declaration by HHS remains in place. Still, practitioners cannot ignore the critical attention that must be given to state laws, which are not affected by the DEA's decision. Many states have also eased telehealth regulations and are promoting telemedicine services wherever possible to encourage social distancing. However, even in states where changes have been formalized through executive orders or state agency public notifications, they often narrowly focus on changes to licensure restrictions in order to broaden the base of available providers, without addressing changes that are necessary to many states' limitations around controlled substance prescribing. Therefore, it is important for practitioners to engage and communicate with state agencies to obtain clear guidance on the state's permissive scope of telehealth services.    

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