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    A Pandemic Prescription Exception Was Set to Expire Thursday, but the DEA Will Extend the Program

    A Pandemic Prescription Exception Was Set to Expire Thursday, but the DEA Will Extend the Program

    The federal government has extended a rule that allowed physicians to prescribe controlled medications across state lines — a pandemic exception that was set to expire Thursday that would have affected hundreds of thousands of veterans in the Department of Veterans Affairs health system.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA, announced Tuesday they are extending all telehealth flexibilities allowed under the pandemic for six months, as well as the allowances for controlled medications prescribed through Nov. 11, 2024.

    The VA has pushed for the expansion of telemedicine allowances that were introduced in the early weeks of the -19 pandemic, to include medical treatment and prescribing across state lines.

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    According to VA Secretary Denis McDonough, the emergency declarations boosted the VA's ability to provide care to veterans in rural or remote areas, as well as those with disabilities that make it challenging for them to travel to and from appointments.

    McDonough estimated that if the COVID-19 emergencies ended without any intervention, 2.7 million veterans in rural locales who use VA health care and another 1.3 million veterans who are not enrolled in VA health services would lose easy access to their prescription drugs.

    The national emergency pandemic measures are…

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