On December 16, 2022, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (“SAMHSA”), under the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) to modify regulations covering medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder (“MOUD”). The NPRM proposes to permanently adopt more flexible regulations to “facilitate access to treatment and eliminate criteria that promote stigma and discourage people from accessing care from opioid treatment programs (OTP).”

Among other changes, the proposed rule would allow “for the use of audio-visual telehealth for any new patient who will be treated by the OTP with methadone if a program physician, or an authorized healthcare professional under the supervision of a program physician, determines that an adequate evaluation of the patient can be accomplished via an audio-visual telehealth platform.”

The proposed rule would not permit the use of audio-only telehealth platforms in assessing new patients who will be treated with methadone. Furthermore, the proposed rule would not authorize the prescription of methadone pursuant to a telehealth visit. Instead, the proposed change would apply to methadone dispensed to the individual patient by the OTP under existing OTP procedures.

Comments on the NPRM are due by February 14, 2023.

Read the NPRM here.

View the NPRM’s Frequently Asked Questions.