DEA officially extends remote EPCS flexibilities for 6 months – TechToday

Last week, the US Drug Enforcement Agency and the US Department of Health and Human Services said they would temporarily expand telemedicine flexibilities for prescribing certain controlled drugs granted under the public health emergency COVID-19, which will expire on May 11. .

This week, the DEA added some specificity to that promise: allowing a six-month extension, until Nov. 11, 2023, and, along with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration from HHS, promising a grace period for virtual prescribing of certain controlled drugs to last at least until November 2024.

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said the agency received a “record” of more than 38,000 comments on its proposed telemedicine rules and responded with the extension accordingly.

On Tuesday, the American Telemedicine Association again applauded the agencies for their recognition of the value of telehealth and remote care.

“The ATA and Action ATA strongly commend the actions the DEA has taken, in conjunction with SAMHSA, to temporarily extend flexibilities for clinically appropriate remote prescribing of controlled substances for six months,” said Kyle Zebley, Senior Vice President of public policy, the ATA, and executive director, ATA Action.

He noted that ATA recognizes “the importance of continuity of care for these patients and responding appropriately and thoughtfully to the countless concerned Americans who commented on previous draft rules.”

The ATA had outlined several of its arguments and offered suggestions for updating the proposed rules to maintain mechanisms that prevent diversion while ensuring that patients do not lose access to needed treatments in two letters to federal agencies .

“It is particularly important and encouraging that these actions cover access to clinically appropriate prescriptions of controlled substances that patients need for a wide variety of medical circumstances, including for mental health and substance use disorders,” he said. Zebley.

He added that ATA hoped federal agencies would use the extension period to further address “unnecessarily restrictive barriers to equitable and appropriate clinical care, such as mandating in-person visits.”

Andrea Fox is a senior editor at Healthcare IT News.
Email: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

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The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has recently announced the formal extension of its remote Electronic Prescription of Controlled Substances (EPCS) flexibilities for the course of the next six months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DEA eased the EPCS rules as part of its response to the health crisis in March. This extension encompasses the use of audio-video technology from Telemedicine Service Providers, allowing practitioners to write and send medication prescriptions electronically from a distance. In doing so, it provides safe access to secure online services, instead of in-person appointments, thus helping practitioners to remain compliant in the face of this unprecedented event.

At Ikaroa, our team understands the complexity of providing secure electronic access of controlled substances. Working with our software engineers, researchers, and business analysts, we create secure accessible APIs, websites, and applications that help practitioners stay compliant. Our secure, digital platform also allows practitioners to quickly and easily verify patient identity, reduce fraud, and protect patient data.

It is great to see the DEA taking the initiative to extend its EPCS flexibilities, and we at Ikaroa look forward to helping practitioners in their adherence to these regulations. We offer our expertise to ensure secure and safe transactions for practitioners in the practice of electronic controlled substance prescribing.



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