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Temporary Rule Extends Telemedicine Flexibility

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a temporary rule that extends flexible telemedicine policies adopted during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). This flexibility has allowed practitioners to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine without a prior in-person visit.

In February, the DEA and HHS proposed two rules that would limit the COVID-19 PHE–related flexibility allowing prescription of controlled substances via telemedicine without a prior in-person visit. The agencies currently are reviewing the received public comments and issued this temporary rule to prevent lapses in care while they develop a permanent rule. The agencies announced May 3 that they would temporarily extend this policy but did not specify a time frame.

The temporary rule, effective May 11, extends the COVID-19 telemedicine flexibility through Nov. 11. Health care providers will be able to prescribe controlled medication without requiring an in-person visit through this date. Provider-patient telemedicine relationships established before Nov. 11, 2023, also will receive a one-year grace period, extending flexibility through Nov. 11, 2024.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Faridat Animashaun is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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