Senators push back on DEA proposed telehealth rules, say they’d affect patient care

This is a developing story and updates are expected.

U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and four of their colleagues expressed support for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s new involvement on a possible dedicated telehealth registry with these listening sessions week organized by the DEA’s Drug Enforcement Administration. Diversion Control Division, but said they had several concerns.

For starters, DEA’s proposed telehealth rules would dramatically impact patient care, in that the rule would prevent physicians from prescribing controlled substances without an in-person visit in the future and place unnecessary demands on healthcare providers — despite efforts to ensure continued access to telehealth services. the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, according to an announcement from Warner’s office.

The senators raised concerns about patients getting appointments within 30 days, and about the safety of healthcare providers who would have to provide their home address if they have a home office. There are also the difficulties of prescribing under a group national identification number, and the general administrative burden that senators say may not be necessary.

“A 30-day supply could result in patients having to go without their medication while waiting for an in-person appointment, or turning to a sharper and more expensive setting of in-person care to meet this deadline, such as emergency departments, the senators said Wednesday letter.

“Despite the 180-day grace period following the end of PHE, new and existing patients will simultaneously seek in-person appointments in a healthcare system already suffering from a shortage of providers.

“According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 163 million Americans live in areas with a shortage of mental health professionals.

‘Approximately 8,200 additional psychiatrists would be needed nationally to eliminate this shortage indication.

“National averages also obscure variation between states and territories; For example, Arizona has only 8.5% of its psychiatric health care needs and would need 227 psychiatrists to meet 100% of these needs.

“And beyond mental health, 100 million Americans live in areas with a shortage of primary care professionals, requiring at least more than 17,000 primary care providers to remove the designation,” they said in the letter.

Establishing a controlled substance registry for telehealth providers

The senators also noted in their letter to Milgram that Congress created a special registry under the SUPPORT Act “not as an option for the DEA to use, but as a requirement to do so.”

“We do not believe this (notice of proposed rulemaking) satisfies DEA’s obligation to create a special registration,” they said.

In May, the DEA expanded telehealth prescribing flexibility, saying listening sessions September 12-13 were an opportunity to provide input on prescribing controlled substances through telemedicine platforms, on detecting abuse and on implementing safeguards that can prevent and detect drug abuse.

“The flexibility that administrator Milgram has provided America over the past three years has fundamentally changed access for millions of Americans,” said Robert Krayn, CEO and co-founder of Talkiatry. Healthcare IT news by email.

“Have no doubt: we stand on the precipice of history. We have the opportunity to solve a special registration process under this government that has been evading multiple governments for decades,” he said.

Andrea Fox is editor-in-chief of Healthcare IT News.

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