COVID Public Health Emergency to End in May 2023

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On 1/30/23 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, which was first issued in 2020 and extended for another 90 days on January 11th, will not be extended further.  Thus, the public health emergency will expire on May 11, 2023.

The HHS recently posted a Transition Roadmap Fact Sheet that discusses what will and will not be affected by the expiration of the public health emergency.  One of the several affected regulations relates to the prescription of controlled substances:

“The ability of health care providers to safely dispense controlled substances via telemedicine without an in-person interaction is affected; however, there will be rulemaking that will propose to extend these flexibilities. During the PHE, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and HHS adopted policies to allow DEA-registered practitioners to prescribe controlled substances to patients without an in-person interaction. These policies allowed for audio-only modalities to initiate buprenorphine prescribing. DEA is planning to initiate rulemaking that would extend these flexibilities under certain circumstances without any gap in care and will provide additional guidance to practitioners soon.”

MIEC will keep our members updated on this developing issue.  In the meantime, for more information please refer to MIEC’s Knowledge Library article Telehealth and Prescribing Controlled Substances.