TAFA Applauds Lawmakers for Discussing Critical Value of Telehealth for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Treatment

Dec 12, 2023

Washington, D.C – Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) issued the following statement following Tuesday’s U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) markup.

“Telehealth Access for America commends Senators Sanders and Murkowski for recognizing the critical value of virtual care in the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD),” said TAFA spokesperson Julia Mirich. “In addition to telehealth for OUD, millions of patients, especially seniors and people from historically underserved communities, are counting on Congress to permanently safeguard access to virtual care made possible by other flexibilities first extended during the pandemic. Congress must continue to recognize the demonstrated value of telehealth for a broad range of patients and permanently safeguard access to virtual care, without onerous restrictions.”

During the hearing, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said, “Electronic prescribing of controlled substances can increase efficiency and safety in the health system, improve patient care, and according to the CBO, likely save money … Telehealth has been a lifeline to those in need of substance use services, especially among those living in rural communities who might not live near lifesaving treatment and services.”

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) continued, “Access is so challenging for so many, and I remain concerned that we have many Americans who really will be left behind as we’re trying to tackle the opioid epidemic if we limit our opportunities to telehealth.”

The United States is facing what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls an Opioid Overdose Epidemic. As of 2021, the CDC reports that over 80 percent of overdose deaths in the United States are due to opioids. This is an issue that is so widespread in the U.S. that virtually every community has been impacted by the presence of opioids and the destruction they leave in their wake.

Preventive treatment is essential in reducing the harm of opioids, and telehealth is shown to be beneficial in supporting this goal.

Through telehealth programs, those undergoing opioid-use disorder (OUD) treatment are reported to stay in treatment longer, were more likely to receive their medications than those attending traditional, in-person appointments, and as a result, faced a 33 percent lower risk of fatal drug overdose. This means that with telehealth intervention, more OUD patients can consistently access their appointments and are offered a better chance of obtaining essential preventative care.

Learn more about how telehealth improves adherence to OUD treatment HERE.

Learn more about how telehealth improves OUD treatment for veterans HERE.

Learn more about the value of telehealth in the treatment of OUD HERE.


Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) is a public education campaign supported by leaders in health care committed to better care, expanded patient choice, and protecting access to critical telehealth services.
Learn more at www.telehealthaccessforamerica.org