Governor Snyder recently signed into law Public Act 22 (Senate Bill 213), which revises the 2016 telehealth bill to clarify that health professionals in Michigan may prescribe controlled substances without an in-person examination. Michigan now joins a growing number of states that allow health professionals to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine.

The law provides that a health professional who is furnishing a telehealth service to a patient may prescribe the patient a controlled substance if (1) the health profession is acting within the scope of his or her practice in prescribing the drug, and (2) the health professional meets the requirements for prescribing controlled substances under Michigan law. A health professional who prescribes a drug under this new law must also comply with the following requirements:

  1. If the health professional considers it medically necessary, he or she must provide the patient with a referral for other health care services that are geographically accessible to the patient, including emergency services; and
  2. After providing a telehealth service, the health professional (or a health professional acting under delegation of another health professional) must make himself or herself available to the patient to provide follow-up health care services or refer the patient to another health professional for follow-up health care services.

Healthcare providers who prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine under Michigan’s new law must also ensure that they comply with applicable federal law.