When President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, it came with a regulatory change intended to make it easier for people to get care. Doctors are now allowed to prescribe addiction medicine virtually, without ever seeing the patient in person.
In Indiana, this kind of virtual visit has been legal since early 2017. So I called about a dozen addiction specialists in Indiana to find out how it was going. But no one had heard of doctors using telemedicine for opioid addiction treatment until I ran across Dr. Jay Joshi.
At Joshi’s practice, Prestige Clinics in Munster, Ind., a telemedicine consultation takes place in what looks like a standard exam room with a computer. On Tuesdays, his patients video chat with a psychologist who lives 140 miles away.