Quality & Science

Proposed patient limit raised to 275. ASAM applauds important action to help close addiction treatment gap.

by ASAM Staff | July 6, 2016

HHS Will Raise DATA 2000 Patient Limit to 275!

ASAM applauds important action to help close addiction treatment gap


CHEVY CHASE, MD,  JULY 6th, 2016 - The Obama Administration announced today that it will raise the limit on the number of patients with opioid addiction that certain physicians can treat with buprenorphine to 275. ASAM applauds this long-overdue policy change as an important step to help combat the current epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths and urges the Department of Health and Human Services to evaluate the rule’s impact on treatment access, diversion, health care costs and clinical outcomes to inform future changes to the patient limit. 

“For too long, addiction specialists like me have had to turn patients in need away from treatment that might save their lives, not because we don’t have the expertise or capacity to treat them, but because of an arbitrary federal limit,” said Dr. Jeffrey Goldsmith, President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). “It has been heartbreaking to tell patients and their families that my hands are tied, and to see them continue to suffer from a treatable disease. ASAM physicians are grateful that we won’t have to say that quite as often anymore.”

ASAM advocated for several changes to the proposed rule that was issued in March, and the final rule issued today reflects the concerted advocacy of ASAM members, allied organizations and other stakeholders eager to see the Administration make a meaningful impact on the epidemic. In addition to raising the proposed patient limit from 200 to 275, the final rule revised the qualifications for the higher limit to include board certification in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry from the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) or the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or certifications by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine, ABAM or ASAM. Additionally, the Administration delayed implementation of the proposed reporting requirements to seek additional comment before finalizing them.

“This new rule is a critical part of a comprehensive response to the current public health crisis we are facing. It takes an important step toward closing the well-documented addiction treatment gap, but won’t be a cure-all,” said Dr. Kelly Clark, President-Elect of ASASM. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and Congress to further increase access to treatment by removing arbitrary barriers to care.” ASAM is doing a careful analysis of the rule and will provide a more detailed summary in the next few days.

The final rule will be effective on August 5, 2016. 


Contact: ASAM’s advocacy team at advocacy@asam.org


The American Society of Addiction Medicine is a national medical specialty society of more than 3,900 physicians and associated professionals. Its mission is to increase access to and improve the quality of addiction treatment, to educate physicians, and other health care providers and the public, to support research and prevention, to promote the appropriate role of the physician in the care of patients with addictive disorders, and to establish Addiction Medicine as a specialty recognized by professional organizations, governments, physicians, purchasers and consumers of health care services and the general public. ASAM was founded in 1954, and has had a seat in the American Medical Association House of Delegates since 1988.