ATA Calls for Stakeholder Letter on Telemedicine Controlled Substances and Ryan Haight Act

01 November 2022 Health Care Law Today Blog
Author(s): Nathaniel M. Lacktman

A coalition of health care associations has issued a call for stakeholders to sign onto a letter urging the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to take immediate action allowing telemedicine prescribing of controlled substances after the Public Health Emergency (PHE) waivers expire. The initiative is co-led by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), ATA Action, the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Psychiatric Association. Such action is necessary, the group contends, to ensure patients can confidently continue receiving necessary treatment where and when they need it, while simultaneously creating a bridge to avoid the Telehealth Gap. The stakeholder letter is available here.

Before the PHE occurred, the President signed a law instructing the DEA to issue regulations for a Special Telemedicine Registration under the Ryan Haight Act. The regulations would offer an exception to the Ryan Haight Act’s in-person exam requirement, allowing clinicians who received the special registration to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine without conducting an initial in-person exam. The law mandated DEA to promulgate the regulations before a deadline of October 25, 2019. Regrettably, that date came and went. More than three years after the deadline imposed by federal law, DEA has not published the regulation.

A few months after that deadline, the COVID-19 pandemic arose and, along with it, the official declaration of a PHE and associated rule waivers. During the PHE, the DEA acted swiftly to waive the Ryan Haight Act’s in-person exam requirement for the prescription of controlled substances, thereby ensuring millions of both established and new patients were able to receive medically necessary prescriptions via telemedicine. But once the PHE waivers expire, the in-person requirement is set to revert into place, without any special registration rule or other process established to ensure continuity of care. With access to care already limited, and nationwide drug shortages making certain medications scarce, many patients may be left with nowhere to turn and could end up with delayed care, no care, or even worse negative outcomes.

Make Your Voice Heard

Organizations interested in signing on and joining the letter can fill out this form by Wednesday, November 9, 2022.

Want to Learn More?

For more information on telemedicine, telehealth, virtual care, remote patient monitoring, digital health, and other health innovations, including the team, publications, and representative experience, visit Foley’s Telemedicine & Digital Health Industry Team.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.