For Immediate Release:
Contact: Kelly Broadway, 202-808-8853
Proposed Telehealth Prescribing Policies Hurt Those with Chronic Illnesses
Washington, D.C. – The Health Innovation Alliance (HIA) is working with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on its proposed rules regarding the prescribing of certain controlled substances via telemedicine.
Telehealth has helped reduce the number of fatal opioid overdoses and continues to be a popular treatment option among both healthcare providers and patients. The uptick in opioid overdoses across the nation is concerning, but the DEA’s proposal will have far-reaching, unintended consequences that will impact millions of Americans and their ability to use telehealth to receive much-needed medications. The types of prescriptions affected by the DEA include those for depression, anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Many of these conditions would be severely impacted by any disruption in care if the patient is not able to see a doctor in person. This is especially true for psychiatric care and chronic disease management.
In comments submitted to the DEA, HIA focused on:
- Removing the 30-day prescribing limit; allowing practitioners to prescribe the courses of treatment indicated for the diagnosed condition, based on clinical guidelines
- Extending the current flexibilities available under the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency until a final rule is released; providing a transition period of at least six months after the final rule is released
- Instituting commonsense policies that maintain access to care and medications without causing delays in patient care
“Over the past three years, telehealth has helped millions of Americans be evaluated, counseled, diagnosed, and treated while keeping them at a lower risk of contracting COVID-19. And, while the Health Innovation Alliance understands that the DEA faces an uphill battle in the fight against opioid abuse, arbitrary limitations like 30-day supplies of medications will cause access issues for patients in need. The DEA should focus on law enforcement and let doctors determine the best course of treatment for patients,” said Brett Meeks, Executive Director of HIA.
Click down below for more on HIA’s comments to the DEA.