Attorneys in Foley’s telemedicine practice, including partner Nathaniel Lacktman, were contributing authors to the American Telemedicine Association letter to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, advocating for provider-friendly changes to federal controlled substance prescribing rules. The letter urged the DEA to open a special registration process allowing psychiatrists and physicians to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine without the need for an in-person exam. The ATA letter noted that “the interpretation of the [Ryan Haight] Act’s general prohibition of prescribing controlled substances by means of the internet has become overly restrictive.”
The ATA workgroup developed recommendations for a DEA special registration process, structured with telepsychiatry particularly in mind, as many patients are experiencing shortages in mental health professionals. The letter proposed five key elements:
- Distinctions between telepsychiatry prescribing and other telemedicine prescribing
- The creation of a mechanism for sites/facilities (not just individual prescribers) to register to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine
- Suggestions on how to update DEA Form 224 to contemplate telemedicine special registration
- Suggestions for eligibility requirements of applicants seeking telemedicine special registration
- Legal and regulatory background information, including the history and legislative intent of the Ryan Haight Act
For more information on telemedicine, telehealth, virtual care and other health innovations, including the team, publications, and other materials, visit Foley’s Telemedicine Practice.