March 1, 2021
Virtual Controlled Substance Rx Order Extended Along with Vulnerable Populations
E-Health Doctor. Professional medical physician hand holding smartphone connecting with patient consulting in clinic hospital. Medical  healthcare  technology concept
Governor DeSantis extended Florida's original COVID-19 state of emergency declaration for 60 days (until April 27 2021). His previous Executive Order #2020-316 expired Saturday. Executive Order #2021-45 extends Executive Order 20-52 Re: COVID-19 from last March which served as the basis for much of the emergency action taken by Governor DeSantis and his state agencies to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The order encompasses several policy areas, including health care and business regulation. The extension of the executive order addresses the following important issues for family physicians:  

Controlled substances: Family Physicians, APRN's, and PA's who are registered with the DEA as controlled substance prescriber's can issue prescription renewals, via telemedicine without a physical examination, ONLY for an existing patient for the treatment of chronic nonmalignant pain. Telehealth services may only be substituted for the physical examination.

Medical Marijuana: Virtual re-certification is also allowed for existing patients who have been diagnosed with a qualified condition by physicians qualified by the Florida Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU).

The executive order also addresses the ability for healthcare professionals, advanced life support professionals, and basic life support professionals, holding a valid license in another state, territory or district to provide these services in Florida during the COVID-19 crisis, yet must be conducted within their scope of practice. The FAFP will keep the membership updated on these and other orders as they are released, yet a comprehensive overview of all state policies and resources can be found on the FL DOH website. Any questions, please email
Paving the Way for J&J
Governor DeSantis today authorized Executive Order 21-47 that extends COVID-19 vaccines to the following populations:

  • Long-term care facility residents and staff;
  • Persons 65 years of age and older;
  • Health care personnel with direct patient contact;
  • K-12 school employees 50 years of age and older;
  • Sworn law enforcement officers 50 years of age and older; and
  • Firefighters 50 years of age and older.

It also authorizes physicians, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists to vaccinate people who are deemed “extremely vulnerable” to the disease. With more vaccine availability on the way with J&J's COVID-19 vaccine being approved by the FDA, this new executive order was intended to help lead the effort, as mentioned in the press release, “to distribute the vaccine to the elderly and vulnerable populations of the state.”
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