HHS Finalizes Rule on Telehealth at Opioid Treatment Programs

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently finalized a rule that will allow opioid treatment programs to begin some medication assisted treatment via telehealth. Under the rule, providers at opioid treatment programs will be able to initiate treatment with buprenorphine through audio-only or audio-visual telehealth. They can begin methadone treatment via an audio-visual platform – but not through an audio-only option due to its higher risk profile, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The regulation utilizes permanent telehealth flexibilities that began during the COVID-19 pandemic to preserve access to care and tackle a worsening opioid epidemic. Though FQHCs are not classified as opioid treatment programs, this information may be useful to your referral process.