Virtual prescribing of controlled substances is in limbo as PHE winds down

February 06, 2023


The coming end of the COVID-19 public health emergency and pandemic-era telehealth flexibilities could rattle an already besieged behavioral health system and force providers to make ethical decisions.

The public health emergency, which President Biden will end May 11, allowed clinicians to prescribe controlled substance medications via telehealth without an office visit. The 2008 Ryan Haight Act, which temporarily waived the office visit requirement, allowed providers to treat a larger population of behavioral health patients more efficiently because they could prescribe and see patients remotely.

Unlike other pandemic-era telehealth flexibilities, the rules around the prescription of controlled substances are still tied to the May 11 date.

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