Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) in reintroducing the Telehealth Response for E-prescribing Addiction Therapy Services (TREATS) Act. The bipartisan bill will waive regulatory restrictions for accessing care and help more Nevadans access telehealth services for fentanyl and other opioid use disorders.
“Rural Nevadans rely on telehealth services to get lifesaving addiction treatment and medication, and we need to make sure they can get the care they need,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “My bipartisan legislation will ensure that Nevadans struggling with substance use disorders can get help no matter where they live in our state.”
Overdose deaths involving opioids rose to a peak of nearly 83,000 Americans in 2022. Despite strong evidence that medication is the most effective treatment for opioid use disorder, only one in five Americans with opioid addiction receive medication treatment that could help them quit and stay in recovery.
In 2020, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) temporarily removed the in-person exam requirement for prescribing medication via telemedicine for people with opioid use disorder. Telehealth flexibilities helped a broad range of patients access treatment, including veterans and those living in rural areas. The TREATS Act would make these changes permanent, allowing providers to waive the in-person visit requirement and instead use audio or video conferencing telehealth technology.
Senator Cortez Masto has been a champion for expanded telehealth services. Earlier this year, she sent a letter urging the DEA to ensure that patients can continue to use telehealth to access critical medications, while minimizing diversion and fraud. She has introduced bipartisan legislation to permanently expand access to telehealth services for Americans with high-deductible health plans and seniors. Cortez Masto is also championing legislation to protect rural veterans’ access to quality, lifesaving emergency medical care and transportation.