Senators Seek Telehealth Expansion for Substance Abuse Treatment

A bill before the Senate would extend telehealth coverage for substance abuse disorder treatment, including MAT therapy and Medicare reimbursement for audio-only phone calls, beyond the COVID-19 emergency.


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“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives and the increase in overdoses we’re seeing only increases the need for additional flexibility to help those suffering from addiction,” Portman said in a press release. “The roll out of telehealth waivers has both helped patients maintain access to care safely at home and increased access to care for those that didn’t otherwise have access to in-person treatment. As we move forward and look to life beyond this pandemic, we must make sure that the advances to care and access that telehealth is currently providing is not lost and that’s exactly what this bill will do.” Mental health and substance abuse treatment providers have long lobbied the federal government to remove restrictions on virtual care for SUD treatment, clashing with those who argue that online prescribing needs to be tightly regulated. With substance abuse issues skyrocketing during the ongoing pandemic, federal officials have taken action to loosen those restrictions.pop up music background music music for productions stock music music for productions pop up music music for productions stock music background music pop up music music for productions stock music background music music for productions stock music music for productions pop up music background music stock music music for productions stock music pop up music music for productions background music pop up music stock music music for productions background music pop up music stock music music for productions background music stock music music for productions pop up music background music stock music pop up music background music music for productions stock music background music music for productions background music pop up music stock music music for productions background music music for productions background music music for productions pop up music music for productions background music stock music background music music for productions pop up music music for productions stock music pop up music stock music music for productions background music pop up music music for productions background music stock music music for productions stock music pop up music stock music background music pop up music music for productions stock music music for productions stock music pop up music background music music for productions stock music music for productions pop up music background music music for productions In addition, on March 19, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued separate guidance allowing Opioid Treatment Programs and certified care providers to use prescribed drugs and conduct treatments over the phone without first meeting in person. Shortly thereafter, the DEA joined SAMHSA in issuing a letter allowing “’authorized practitioners’ to prescribe buprenorphine to new and existing OUD patients for maintenance or detoxification treatment on the basis of telehealth examination, which may include a telephone voice-only evaluation - without the need for a prior in-person exam.” “The DEA Letter allows authorized practitioners the added flexibility of using audio-only modalities (i.e., telephone) - instead of audio-visual, real-time, two-way interactive communication system - which is required to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine, pursuant to the aforementioned emergency exception to the federal Ryan Haight Act,” Sunny J. Levine and Emily H. Wein of the Foley & Lardner law firm wrote in a recent blog summarizing the government’s actions.read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it read more about it

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