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GOP lawmaker touts move to lift limits on telehealth for opioid treatment

GOP lawmaker touts move to lift limits on telehealth for opioid treatment
© Greg Nash

Rep. Buddy CarterEarl (Buddy) Leroy CarterBipartisan lawmakers call for overhauling medical supply chains The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day Overnight Health Care: US sets a new record for average daily coronavirus cases | Meadows on pandemic response: 'We're not going to control it' | Pelosi blasts Trump for not agreeing to testing strategy MORE (R-Ga.) on Thursday touted legislation to use telehealth to prescribe drugs to treat opioid addiction, a move he said would make it easier to fight the epidemic.

“This will give the opportunity for physicians, through telemedicine, to actually prescribe controlled substances such as what we use in medication assisted treatment,” Carter said at an event on telehealth hosted by The Hill and sponsored by the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety.

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Carter’s legislation, cosponsored by Democratic Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosMaloney to lead Democrats' campaign arm Democratic Women's Caucus members split endorsements for House campaign chief Rep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (Ill.) would lift limits on prescribing drugs that treat opioid addiction without first having an in-person doctor’s visit. Instead, telehealth could be used to prescribe the medication from afar.

The legislation, the Special Registration for Telemedicine Clarification Act, is included in an opioid package that Congress is expected to pass this week.

Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyOvernight Health Care: Biden asked Fauci to serve as chief medical adviser | COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks | Rhode Island Gov. Raimondo says she won't be Biden's HHS secretary Social justice begins with open schools and school choice COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks MORE (R-La.), a doctor, said that telehealth can be useful in other circumstances as well, even if a patient is older and not as technologically savvy, if the doctor establishes a good relationship.  

“It isn't age, it’s the nature of the patient-provider relationship that enables,” Cassidy said.

“The provider can bring a great deal of comfort to that relationship,” he added.

Rep. Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiOvernight Health Care: CDC panel recommends who gets vaccine first | McConnell offering new relief bill | Hahn downplays White House meeting on vaccines Cyberattack forces shutdown of Baltimore County schools for the day Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg and Dorsey return for another hearing | House passes 5G funding bill | Twitter introduces 'fleets' MORE (D-Calif.) said an extra step needed is to expand broadband access so that people have strong internet access to enable telehealth. Broadband can be used for rural areas to have the “health care they need and deserve but for economic development also,” Matsui said.