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 CarterThirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill Federal board votes to rename Georgia's 'Runaway Negro Creek' to 'Freedom Creek' 3 signs the PBMs are desperately in need of reform 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.

Carter’s legislation, cosponsored by Democratic Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosDemocratic House campaign arm says it raised .85 million in April Dem rep: You can't be a Democrat if you don't support abortion, LGBTQ rights Dem facing primary challenge says he'll vote for LGBT equality bill 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 CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag Bipartisan senators unveil measure to end surprise medical bills Work on surprise medical bills goes into overdrive 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 MatsuiThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition — Trump: GOP has `clear contrast' with Dems on immigration We can accelerate a cure for Alzheimer's Overnight Energy: John Kerry hits Trump over climate change at hearing | Defends Ocasio-Cortez from GOP attacks | Dems grill EPA chief over auto emissions rollback plan 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.