Florida has long been a leader in the United States addiction treatment frontier. With the COVID-19 pandemic creating new barriers for individuals seeking treatment for substance use disorders, federal regulations were temporarily loosened to allow clinicians to prescribe medication-assisted treatment drugs like Suboxone to patients they examined via telemedicine. On April 6, 2022 Florida Governor Ron Desantis signed legislation that would continue to allow for increased access to this treatment even as the pandemic recedes.
Prescriptions for controlled medications via telemedicine were formerly prohibited in Florida, with just a few exceptions. The new law (SB 312) would allow physicians to prescribe schedule III drugs like buprenorphine via telemedicine. In addition, the law makes it easier to provide refills for patients with ongoing care management plans without the need for a medically unnecessary office visits.
While Florida state law has changed, providers are still governed by federal regulation including DEA oversight. Additionally, the Ryan Haight Act provides serious restrictions regarding telehealth prescriptions.
The healthcare industry, and particularly telehealth advocates, have long lobbied the federal government to ease some of these restrictions, claiming that they obstruct access to care for those who can’t easily see a provider in person and prevent a provider from reaching out to and treating more people in need (particularly in behavioral health and substance abuse services). The DEA has previously stated that it will loosen those requirements, but has failed to do so, and federal waivers established during the epidemic to enable telemedicine prescriptions will expire when the public health emergency ends later this year.
All In Solutions Counseling Center in Boynton Beach offers medication-assisted treatment programs to individuals struggling with opioid dependence. For more information, contact us today.