Is telepsychiatry subject to specific guidelines and laws?
Orbit Health psychiatric professionals strictly adhere to the federal and state guidelines that apply to their practices. Additionally, different states may implement and apply different guidelines specific to telepsychiatry.
For example, telepsychiatry practitioners must carefully follow laws that regulate prescriptions for controlled substances. This is done by a rule called the “Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008,” enforced by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency).
The Ryan Haight Act requires a practitioner to conduct in-person medical evaluation before they can prescribe a controlled substance. Some exceptions apply for systems like federal healthcare providers at Indian Health System.
With the COVID-19 public health emergency, an in-person medical evaluation is not feasible. This is where telepsychiatry has a protective advantage for clinical staff and for patients. For instance, the DEA will allow prescriptions to be issued for audiovisual telemedicine communication.