On September 12 and 13, 2023, the DEA hosted listening sessions to gather feedback from healthcare practitioners, experts, advocates, patients, and other public members regarding the DEA’s regulations on prescribing controlled substances via telemedicine.
East Coast Telepsychiatry was honored for its selection to present insights and data advocating for enhanced telemedicine regulations and laws. Representing rural America and the psychiatric community at large, Pierre Montalvo, Operations and Compliance Manager, and Dan Golden, Chief Administrator of East Coast Telepsychiatry, addressed the DEA to advocate for patient rights and the pursuit of optimal care.
East Coast Telepsychiatry, the parent entity of East Coast Family Medicine, functions as a family-owned enterprise in Callao, VA, with further branches in Florida, South Carolina, New York, and Virginia. The East Coast network stands out as one of the few practices currently accepting new patients with a wait time of less than seven days.
The DEA Headquarters in Arlington, VA, received Mr. Montalvo and Mr. Golden as two of the select individuals, numbering fewer than 100, invited to attend the event in person.
The forum also spotlighted Mr. Golden as a speaker. Each presenter was allocated a ten-minute segment to champion the comprehensive use of telemedicine and the importance of prescribing controlled substances through telehealth.
The 2008 telemedicine regulations under the Ryan Haight Act have grown obsolete and necessitate prompt revisions. Even though the DEA began enforcing the Ryan Haight Act in March 2023, signaling the official conclusion of the pandemic, this decision was paused following the receipt of an unprecedented 38,000 formal complaints within a month concerning the new guidelines.
In May of the same year, the DEA commented, “The role of telemedicine in providing Americans with access to vital medications is recognized. A decision has been made to prolong the existing flexibilities for an additional six months as a balanced approach is sought to guarantee this access with appropriate precautions.”
Mr. Golden, along with approximately 60 other presenters, conveyed essential data, statistics, and apprehensions from healthcare providers, including Amy Pharr, APRN. Ms. Pharr, among others, is committed to offering premier care to all Americans, especially those residing in rural areas or zones with a pronounced shortage of healthcare professionals.
The Ryan Haight Act imposes significant limitations on Doctors, Nurse Practitioners, and various healthcare experts, impeding their capacity to cater to patients earnestly seeking accessible and cost-effective care.
The Ryan Haight Act warrants a revision to cater to the pressing patient care needs that considerably outnumber the present healthcare providers. An immediate amendment is also essential to synchronize with the technological progress that has long outpaced this outdated regulation.
A link has been incorporated into this release and on associated websites for those keen on viewing the event. The link showcases the proceedings of the event’s second day, while a connection to the footage from the first day is also accessible on the mentioned websites. It’s recommended to view a substantial segment of the video, with Mr. Golden’s section commencing at the 4:37:45 mark.
DEA Telemedicine Listening Session – Day 2