Federal Agencies Have Extended Telemedicine Flexibilities for Prescribing Controlled Medications

In response to a record 38,000 comments from the public, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency will extend the full set of telemedicine flexibilities adopted during the COVID-19 public health emergency that ends today, May 11.  The temporary rule will allow providers to prescribe controlled medications, such as buprenorphine for opioid use disorder (OUD), via telemedicine until November 11, 2023.  For patient-provider relationships established by that date, flexibilities will extend another year to November 2024.   While rates for OUD are similar in both rural and urban areas, the availability of medication-assisted therapies has been disproportionately located in urban areas.