A new report released by the Biden Administration lays out recommendations for the future of virtual addiction care.
The document, penned by the Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association (LAPPA), advises lawmakers to permanently enact and expand the public health emergency (PHE) regulations changes.
In regards to substance use disorder (SUD) care and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), the report calls on the Drug Enforcement Administration to consider making the PHE changes permanent. Specifically, the report points to allowing providers to prescribe controlled substances to patients using telehealth without requiring an in-person visit first.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government rolled back a number of regulations, making it easier for providers to deliver virtual care. For example, in the CARES Act of 2020 Congress waived the originating site requirements for Medicare reimbursement during the PHE. However, the waiver will end at the end of the PHE.
“Across the United States, fewer than 1 out of 10 people with substance use disorder get the care they need. That is unequivocally unacceptable,” Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a White House press release. “Through his Unity Agenda Strategy to beat the overdose epidemic, President Biden has made clear that this Administration will work to make it easier for people to access treatment and save lives. One way we can work to do that is by expanding telehealth services, a cost-effective way to increase access to care for vulnerable people with substance use disorder by meeting them where they are.”
Full story here.