The Updated Telehealth Prescribing Law: What to Know

Commencing on November 11, 2023, new regulations are in place concerning the online prescribing of controlled substances. We are going to provide you with crucial details about these changes and offer guidance on how to ensure continued access to telehealth treatment.

What is Changing and Why is It Happening?

On May 11, 2023, the public health emergency (PHE) that had been established in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic ended. PHE contributed to certain flexibilities in the online prescribing of controlled substances (Adderall, Ritalin, Xanax, and others). Patients could conveniently get these medications prescribed through virtual consultations with healthcare providers, eliminating the need for attending walk-in clinics during their treatment.


However, with the implementation of new regulations on November 11, 2023, individuals requiring controlled substances will be obliged to see their physician in person first. Following a comprehensive evaluation, patients will receive a doctor’s referral, which will enable them to continue obtaining their prescribed medications through telehealth.

How It Works Now

Existing patients

If you are already using our services and your treatment includes controlled substances, you can refill your prescriptions as usual until November 11, 2024.

The same rule applies if you schedule an appointment at EZCare Clinic before November 11, 2023. You can get your treatment without in-person visits but you will be required to provide a referral letter before November 11, 2024, to continue getting prescriptions online after that date.

New patients

If you have your first appointment on November 11, 2023, or after that date, you have to know the following:

  • You can obtain schedule III-V controlled substances for a 30-day supply initially. To proceed with refilling your prescription, it will be necessary for you to visit a primary care physician and provide us with a referral within 30 days.
  • If you require schedule II meds, you will need a referral from a primary care physician to obtain the initial 30-day prescription.

Once you get a referral, you will be eligible to refill your prescription online for one year. Please note that after this period, a new referral will be required.

What is a Referral?

A referral is a crucial document that allows you to get controlled substances prescribed through telemedicine. It serves as a confirmation from your physician that you are eligible to receive these medications online. A referral is obtained after an in-person evaluation is conducted by your primary care physician or local healthcare provider. 


Once we receive and process your referral, we can proceed with refilling your prescription for controlled substances, ensuring you have continued access to the necessary medications.

How to Get a Referral

We understand that your PCP may use another template of a referral form, and we accept those as well. A referral ensures that we have a comprehensive understanding of your medical history and can provide you with the best possible care.

If your MD has any questions or concerns regarding the referral process, please feel free to share the information from this page with them.

Frequently Asked Questions

The updated regulations come into force on November 11, 2023.

Our current patients can continue getting their medications prescribed at EZcare Clinic without a referral letter until November 11, 2024. 

Those who become EZCare Clinic patients on November 11, 2023, or later, can only get a 30-day supply of schedule III-V drugs without a referral. To refill that prescription or to get an initial prescription for schedule II meds, they require a referral letter.

A controlled substance refers to a specific category of drugs that are regulated by the government due to their potential for abuse or dependence. These substances are categorized based on their recognized medical uses and the degree of their potential harm. They are tightly controlled and monitored to ensure their safe and appropriate use.


Various medications used to address conditions such as depression, ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), insomnia, anxiety disorders, and others are classified as controlled substances.

A referral letter will be needed in the following cases:

  • Schedule III-V controlled substances (Ambien, Xanax, Valium, and others) can be prescribed without a referral letter only for 30 days. A referral will be needed to refill those prescriptions using telehealth services.
  • Schedule II controlled substances (Adderall, Focalin, Concentra, and others) require a referral for the initial 30-day supply as well.

This rule comes into force on November 11, 2023, for our new patients and on November 11, 2024, for our current patients.

At EZCare Clinic, you have the flexibility to book and attend an online appointment even if you haven’t obtained a referral letter yet:

  • Whether you are a current or a new patient, you do not need a referral letter until November 11, 2023.
  • You will not need a referral letter to be prescribed schedule III-V controlled substances for 30 days after November 11, 2023.
  • If you require a schedule II medication, you can still have an appointment and receive the prescription. Subsequently, once we receive the referral letter, we will process your prescription accordingly.
  • You do not need a referral letter if you are not prescribed any controlled substances.
  • If you are our current patient and already take schedule II medications, you can refill your prescription via telehealth services without a referral till November 11, 2024.
  • If you are our current patient who was not prescribed schedule II meds before or a new patient who plans to schedule the first appointment after November 10, 2023, you will need a referral letter to get your meds even for an initial 30-day supply.

You can still have an appointment at EZCare Clinic without a referral. However, we will ask you to provide it later so we could process your prescription for schedule II medication if you get it prescribed.

These changes only apply to controlled substances, and the process for obtaining prescriptions for non-controlled substances remains unaffected.

For schedule III-V drugs, you have the option to receive an initial prescription online for a duration of 30 days, even without a referral. However, in order to renew and refill that prescription through online healthcare services, a referral will be required.

You can obtain a referral from various healthcare providers, including your primary care physician, family doctor, urgent care provider, or internal medicine provider. These professionals are qualified to provide referrals after conducting an in-person evaluation and assessing your medical needs.  If you need assistance in finding a certified primary care physician (PCP), you can reach out to our Hotline at (415) 966-0848 and press 6 for further guidance and information.

Currently, EZCare Clinic does not operate walk-in clinics. However, we are actively partnering with certified primary care physicians (PCPs) who are capable of conducting thorough in-person evaluations and issuing referrals as needed. 

If you require further assistance or have any inquiries, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our dedicated Hotline at (415) 966-0848 and press 6. Our team will provide you with the necessary support and information.

To obtain the referral form, simply download it here. Once you have the form, you can choose to either send it electronically to your physician via email or print it out and bring it with you to your appointment.

For current EZCare Clinic patients, it is important that your primary care physician submits the referral to us via eFax (+1 888 395 9144) before November 11, 2024. This will ensure that your prescription for controlled substances can continue to be refilled online without interruption.

If you are a new patient (having an initial appointment on November 11, 2023, or later) and have been prescribed a controlled substance, you will need to provide a referral within 30 days in order to refill your prescription online. This timeframe allows for the necessary documentation to be completed, ensuring that you can continue to access the medications you need through our online services.

Once you receive your referral letter, it remains valid for a period of 12 months. Within this timeframe, you can conveniently refill your prescription for controlled substances through our telehealth services, only for the condition specified in the referral.

However, it’s important to note that if during your online consultations with healthcare providers, a different mental health condition is identified, or if there are changes or additional diagnoses made, a new referral will be required to obtain controlled substances for the newly identified condition.