Telehealth Expansion Means Doctors Can Prescribe Across State Lines
Getting a stimulant prescription filled in a state other than where it was prescribed can be confusing. If you are relocating to another state for work or are a college student who needs refills to continue ADHD treatment, you’ll need to consider state and federal regulations along with new rules related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stimulant medications for ADHD are Schedule II medications and heavily regulated. Understanding state and federal rules regarding stimulant medication can ensure a smooth continuation of your ADHD treatment.
The public health emergency changes some of the rules
During the pandemic, some of the rules for prescribing were relaxed, making the prescription process more convenient. In the past, prescribers had to have a state and DEA license for each state in which they prescribed medicine or for the state where their patient was located. New regulations allow that if doctors have a state license and DEA license in one state, they are not required to get another DEA license in another state.
A provision to the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act has been temporarily lifted as part of the pandemic response. Previously, if a patient met with their doctor through a telemental health video platform, the doctor could not prescribe a controlled medication. However, the Department of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced in March 2020, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, “practitioners… may issue prescriptions for all schedule II-V controlled substances to patients for whom they have not conducted an in-person medical evaluation,” provided certain conditions are met.
Telehealth expanded for ADHD treatment
To comply with the new federal provision, doctors must prescribe a controlled medication for a legitimate reason, meet patients through a telemental health platform, such as a video or another two-way communication system, and adhere to federal and state laws. This provision allows medical professionals to prescribe stimulants as long as they meet the patient through a telemental health session under the above conditions, possibly even if the patient resides in a different state than the prescriber.
While all of this is promising for many people who have a prescription for a stimulant medication, the applicable laws can be confusing. It is important to check the latest updates on the DEA website and know the rules of the state where you intend to have your prescription filled.
Know before you go
Be aware of the rules for the state where you are relocating. Each state’s rules are different, so check with a pharmacy in the state you intend to have your prescription filled. Also, ask your prescribing professional if she is comfortable continuing to treat you while you are out of state or if she prefers to hand off your care to an in-state doctor.
Be aware of state rules about how often a patient must be seen. This information will help you determine how long before you need to meet with your prescriber out of state (if she is comfortable continuing to prescribe medication while you are living in another state) or how much time you have to find a new doctor in your new state. Mental health professionals have seen a rise in caseloads due to the pandemic, resulting in longer wait times, especially among 18- to 24-year-old college students who live on campus. Plan ahead as much as possible, so you can make sure your ADHD treatment is continued in your new state.
- CHADD’s ADHD and COVID-19 Resources
- DEA COVID-19 FAQ
- Telehealth for ADHD?
- The Therapist Is Online: Telehealth for ADHD Has Benefits and Drawbacks
- Telehealth for Teens and Young Adults with ADHD