American Telemedicine Association Supports Action Expanding Telemedicine for Opioid Crisis

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ATA continues to push for wider use of telemedicine

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) supports today’s action by the Trump Administration expanding the reach of telemedicine to treat the nation’s opioid epidemic.

President Trump’s action effectively directs Health and Human Services (HHS) Acting Secretary Eric Hargan, to remove the prohibition on prescribing controlled substances – including anti-addiction medicines like naloxone – currently restricted by the 2008 Ryan Haight Act. President Trump, by today’s action, is using a narrow provision of the law to set aside major restrictions for a declared “public health emergency.”

“Allowing physicians to prescribe controlled substances by telemedicine to treat patients with addictions, using medication assisted treatments, is a very positive move and one that will certainly help more patients to access high quality treatment.” said Dr. Peter Yellowlees, ATA’s President.

While the declaration of a public health emergency lasts 90 days, it can be renewed.

Today’s declaration opens the door for the DEA to create a pathway for providers to treat addicts through telemedicine.  ATA has been urging the DEA to implement a telemedicine “special registration” provision to update the protections of Ryan Haight and expand the use of telemedicine, reducing barriers to addiction treatment through the use of video visits.

“Three groups of patients will be primary beneficiaries of this important regulatory change: individuals with addictions, children with ADHD and veterans with PTSD. They are all commonly treated with a range of controlled substances which, until now, have not been able to be prescribed by telemedicine,” Dr. Yellowlees said.

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About the American Telemedicine Association
Established in 1993, ATA is a non-profit, membership-based association located in Washington DC.  Comprised of a membership network of more than 10,000 industry leaders and healthcare professionals, ATA is the leading telehealth association helping to transform healthcare by improving the quality, equity, and affordability of healthcare throughout the world. To learn more about ATA, visit http://www.americantelemed.org.

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Jessica Washington
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