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ADDICTION POLICY NEWS


RISAM Supports Legislation to Permanently Implement Telehealth Flexibilities in Rhode Island

June 9, 2020

 

On June 9, the Rhode Island Society of Addiction Medicine (RISAM) sent a letter in support of SB2525A, which would permanently implement many telehealth flexibilities implemented due to the COVID-19 health emergency. Specifically, the bill would change originating site requirements, expand the definition of telehealth to include audio-only telephone conversations, and place requirements on insurers to ensure patients can access affordable telehealth treatment.

 

The letter stresses the importance of expanding access to telehealth due to the negative effects of COVID-19 on those suffering from addiction. There is already evidence that social distancing measures, coupled with the stress of COVID-19, are contributing to an increase in overdoses and deaths across the country. Telehealth is a safe, effective, and efficient way of engaging with patients. Furthermore, a treatment model that incorporates telehealth can allow for more frequent communication with a patient’s care team, provide additional privacy, address the stigma of receiving treatment, give clinicians insight into patients’ personal lives, and possibly improve the therapeutic alliance.

 

Read the letter here.

 

Read the bill here.