As regular JUCM News readers know, the May 11 expiration of federal, pandemic-related emergency declarations will have broad implications for urgent care (and the healthcare industry in general). One that we haven’t touched on is the impact on telehealth. As COVID-19 limited the ability for patients to visit brick-and-mortar practices, standards on remote prescribing were relaxed so more providers in more widespread locations could prescribe for patients they didn’t examine in person. An opinion piece published by MedPage Today points out that one unintended consequence of going back to more restrictive remote care and prescribing could be limiting access to buprenorphine, a controlled substance, and thereby undoing progress that has been made in fighting the U.S. opioid crisis. With badly diminished numbers of addiction treatment centers, individuals struggling with addiction could be hard pressed to maintain their sobriety. Urgent care providers and operators should bear this in mind and be alert for drug-seeking patients while also being prepared to offer treatment. JUCM published an article that could be helpful with the latter. Read The Potential Role of Urgent Care in Addressing the Opioid Epidemic in our archive now.

Follow-Up: Will Closing the Window on COVID Emergency Declarations Undo Progress in the Opioid Crisis?