May 11, 2023
On May 9, 2023, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) officially issued "Temporary Extension of COVID-19 Telemedicine Flexibilities for Prescription of Controlled Substances", a temporary rule that extends telemedicine flexibilities adopted during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE).
The temporary rule will take effect on May 11, 2023, the same date the COVID-19 PHE is set to end and when the telemedicine flexibilities contained within would have ended, had this new temporary rule not been issued. The temporary rule will be in effect for six months, through November 11, 2023.
For any practitioner-patient telemedicine relationships that have been, or will be, established, up to November 11, 2023, the full set of telemedicine flexibilities regarding prescription of controlled medications established during the COVID-19 PHE will be extended for one year, through November 11, 2024.
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram was quoted in a SAMHSA press announcement saying, "The DEA received a record 38,000 comments on its proposed telemedicine rules. We take those comments seriously and are considering them carefully . . . We recognize the importance of telemedicine in providing Americans with access to needed medications, and we have decided to extend the current flexibilities for six months while we work to find a way forward to give Americans that access with appropriate safeguards."
Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance use, and the leader of SAMHSA, was also quoted, saying, "Access to evidence-based treatment is a pillar of the HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy . . . We strongly support policies that promote access to effective and safe treatment for opioid use disorder, including through telemedicine platforms, and ensuring continued access to necessary controlled medications past the COVID-PHE."
Click here to access the full text of the temporary rule, and click here to access the relevant SAMHSA press announcement.
Separate from the DEA and SAMHSA's temporary rule issuance, the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS), Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) has issued a notice regarding PHE flexibility termination.
As stated in the notice from DMAHS, the following PHE flexibilities are set to expire tomorrow, May 11, 2023, the set end of the federal COVID-19 PHE:
Provider Enrollment and Participation
Personal Care Services
Click here to access the complete notice from DMAHS and for more detailed information on each of the flexibilities' ends.
Additionally, Kaiser Family Foundation has shared a timeline of end dates for key health-related flexibilities provided through COVID-19 emergency declarations, legislation, and other administrative actions, available here.