On May 9, 2023 – a day ahead of the expiration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) – the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a press release to announce the “Temporary Extension of COVID-19 Telemedicine Flexibilities for Prescription of Controlled Medications” — a temporary rule that extends telemedicine flexibilities adopted during the COVID-19 PHE.
This temporary rule will take effect for six months, lasting from May 11, 2023, to November 11, 2023. But “for any practitioner-patient telemedicine relationships that have been or will be established up to November 11, 2023, the full set of telemedicine flexibilities regarding prescription of controlled medications established during the COVID-19 PHE will be extended for one [additional] year—through November 11, 2024.” See here for the full text of this temporary rule.
This extension was in response to the DEA’s receipt of “several thousand comments supporting an extension of the COVID-19 PHE telemedicine flexibilities for all practitioner-patient telemedicine relationships,” within a larger sample of 38,369 public comments that came from two notices of proposed rulemakings (NPRMs) published to the Federal Register on March 1, 2023, regarding induction of buprenorphine and prescribing of controlled substances via telemedicine. Those NPRMs will continue to be reviewed, with revisions being considered, during this temporary rule.
For more information on Telehealth and COVID-19, see the following AHRQ Academy resources:
- Topic Brief on Telehealth and Behavioral Health Integration
- Topic Brief on COVID-19
- HIT & Telehealth Substance Use Tools & Resources
- COVID-19 Substance Use Tools & Resources
- HIT & Telehealth Unhealthy Alcohol Use Tools & Resources
- Literature Collection Resources on HIT & Telehealth
 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DEA, SAMHSA Extend COVID-19 Telemedicine Flexibilities for Prescribing Controlled Medications for Six Months While Considering Comments from the Public. SAMHSA Newsroom, 2023. Accessed May 9, 2023.
 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Temporary Extension of COVID-19 Telemedicine Flexibilities for Prescription of Controlled Medications. Department of Justice (DOJ), 2023. Accessed May 9, 2023.