The New York Department of Health is pleased announce release of the New York State Guidance for Accessing Buprenorphine through Telemedicine. This document provides helpful information for both waived and non-waived medical practitioners on how to use telemedicine for buprenorphine provision, especially where patients present in settings that do not have on-site waived staff.
The unprecedented disruption to the healthcare system caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for enhancing telemedicine options across many systems, including for addressing Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). Telemedicine offers a practical, life-saving option for expanding access to buprenorphine, particularly in rural communities and in areas of the State with an insufficient number of waived practitioners to meet local needs. Telemedicine-mediated buprenorphine access will ensure that individuals with OUD presenting in various clinical and non-clinical settings have timely access to medication they need.
In light of the current public health emergency, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have authorized temporary nationwide flexibility in prescribing buprenorphine through telemedicine for new and existing patients with OUD. New York State’s newly released buprenorphine telemedicine guidance will continue to be apply to the State’s providers after the public health emergency ends, even if the DEA and SAMHSA withdraw their current flexible policies regarding prescribing buprenorphine through telemedicine.