FAQs on New HHS Guidelines (4/27/21)

FAQs on New HHS Guidelines (4/27/21)

FAQs on New HHS Guidelines (4/27/21)

    What was the announcement?

    On 4/27/2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new buprenorphine practice guidelines that among other things, remove a longtime requirement tied to training.  The guidelines went into effect on 4/28/2021 and can be found here.

    Who does it cover? Is it just physicians or does this include NPs and PAs?

    The Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder provides eligible physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse midwives, who are state licensed and registered by the DEA to prescribe controlled substances, an exemption from certain statutory certification requirements related to training, counseling and other ancillary services (i.e., psychosocial services).

    Is there a patient limit?

    Practitioners utilizing the exemption are limited to treating no more than 30 patients at any one time. Time spent practicing under the exemption will not qualify the practitioner for a higher patient limit. Practitioners who do not wish to practice under the exemption and its attendant 30 patient limit may seek a waiver per established protocols.

    Do I still need a waiver?

    Before treating patients with buprenorphine for opioid use disorder, practitioners are required to obtain a waiver under the CSA by submitting a Notice of Intent to SAMHSA under established protocols.

    Is there anything state specific I should know?

    While these guidelines change certain federal requirements, they do not govern possible state requirements that may be applicable. Check your state laws and regulations to determine if your state specifically mandates training before prescribing buprenorphine for OUD.

    Do I even need to take a course anymore if I plan to utilize this new guideline exemption?

    You should still consider taking the education/training. ASAM’s Treatment of Opioid Disorder (TOUD) Course delivers high quality education that is helpful for providers treating opioid use disorder and prescribing medication in the office-based setting. This course is recommended for anyone who does not feel confident treating opioid use disorder.

    Where can I find more information?

    Practitioners may find more information about the exemption in the SAMHSA FAQs.