The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced the world to telehealth, and it has certainly made it easier to visit a doctor, but has telehealth been beneficial for people with psychiatric disorders? Thanks to reporting by bloomberg, people have become increasingly aware that certain businesses have been able to just pop up, and prescribe medication without physically seeing the patient. Which, as it seems, has increased to overdoses, and suicides, among other issues with the rules being bent for the pandemic.
But, did you know that as of September 2022, it is no longer legal to prescribe controlled substances other than buprenorphine for substance abuse without a physical exam from your doctor? Yes according to 10 NYCRR §§80.62 and 80.63
“Initial Physical Examination in Telemedicine – New September 2022
10 NYCRR §§80.62 and 80.63 require that no controlled substance prescription shall be issued prior to the physical examination of the patient by the practitioner under most circumstances. While a practitioner must perform the physical examination, the parameters for the examination may vary “as indicated” to conform to generally accepted medical standards, including taking into account the drug to be prescribed and the patient’s condition, history, and disposition toward the use of controlled substances.
A practitioner may rely on a record of a physical examination of the patient under certain conditions, pursuant to 10 NYCRR §80.63(d). A practitioner may prescribe a controlled substance to his or her own patient after a review of the patient’s record if the record contains the results of a physical examination performed by a consulting physician or hospital and such record warrants the prescribing. The examination of the record must have been performed specific to the diagnosis for which the prescription is being considered, and a new diagnosis may necessitate a new physical examination. Both practitioners must be licensed to practice in New York State (NYS).
Although the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has temporarily waived its requirement for an in-person physical exam during the COVID-19 emergency, NYS has not waived the requirement for an initial physical exam. However, during the federal public health emergency, the NYS Department of Health is permitting the prescribing of buprenorphine for medication-assisted treatment for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) without the physical examination of the patient. No other controlled substances are subject to this temporary exception to NYS’s independent requirements.
New York State Guidance for Accessing Buprenorphine through Telemedicine”
Telehealth and Telepsychiatry have increased patient participation, which gives you better access to providers, offers patients convenience, and assists with time optimization, but we can’t stress enough the importance of making the time to create a physical, in-person appointment with your doctor so that they can properly assess your needs with a physical examination and increase your quality of care, which increases your quality of life. Book your in-person appointment in New York City today.