Survey Results: Addiction Specialists Weigh In on the DATA 2000 Patient Limits

by ASAM Staff | December 7, 2015

In light of Secretary Burwell’s September announcement that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will revise the federal regulations related to the DATA 2000 patient limits and in preparation to comment on the forthcoming proposed rule, ASAM surveyed addiction specialists to see how many are waivered to prescribe buprenorphine and how many are affected by the current patient limits. The survey was an update to one ASAM did in 2013, and the results indicate that patient demand for treatment has increased. 

  2013 2015 
 Responses  458  1,309
Waiver Status
 Waivered to treat up to 30 patients  17.3%  17.8%
 Waivered to treat up to 100 patients 71.9%  73.9% 
 Not waivered  10.8%  8.1%
 Patient Load (Percent of Waivered Physicians)
 Low: Fewer than 40 (2013) or 30 (2015) patients  44.2% 31.6% 
 Medium: Between 40 and 80 (2013) or 30 and 80 (2015) patients  17.0% 19.0% 
 High: More than 80 patients  37.1% 45.3% 
 Patient Demand for Treatment Exceeding the 100-Patient Limit (Percent of Waivered Physicians)
 Yes  41.5% 66.3% 
 No  55.0% 30.2% 


Compared to responses in 2013, more respondents in 2015 said:

  • They are waivered to prescribe to 100 patients
  • They treat more than 80 patients
  • They have patient demand for treatment in excess of the 100 patient limit

Thank you to those who responded to the survey! This information helps us better understand patient demand for buprenorphine treatment and how the current patient limits affect addiction specialists’ ability to offer it.

Please keep your eye out for an email from ASAM Advocacy when the proposed rule is released! We encourage all members to submit individual comments on the proposal, and will share ASAM’s official take on the proposed rule as soon as possible.

Questions? Contact ASAM Advocacy at

 survey infographic

Addiction Specialists - Waiver Status

Addiction Specialists - Patient Load

 Addiction Specialists - Demand for Treatment


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  43. saveplus Sep 25, 2018 - 06:37 AM
    There are docs in the community well known to folks on the street that will provide prescriptions with minimal accountability, monitoring or treatment.
  44. Dr. Padhiar MD Mar 11, 2016 - 11:17 AM
    I am seeing increasing number of suboxone pts in detox, some have been dissolving and injecting suboxone to get high, others want to get off suboxone, and are experiencing withdrawal, which they state is worse than heroin withdrawal, and lasts longer. There are cash only physicians, who dont properly monitor for counselling etc. Suboxone is available on the street, and is being diverted, and I am sure DEA has concerns regarding this, I hope these issues are addressed with CARA, or we will have another epidemic, suboxone abuse on our hands
  45. Daniel Bennett, MD Feb 02, 2016 - 03:08 PM
    I have read many opinions on the 100 patient limit. Some of them make sense, and some don't. Many, like the one offered by Dave Simon (see above) say that patient limits should not be increased for doctors who are not board certified in addiction medicine. Opinions like these sound absurd to me. What if the American Board of Medical Specialties were to say "Only board certified endocrinologists should be allowed to prescribe insulin to more than 100 patients"? What if ACOG said "Only board certified OB/GYNs should be allowed to deliver babies, or at least any others should be limited to delivering 12 babies per year"? I would like to remind you that almost any licensed physician can prescribe hydrocodone to 1,000 patients, or oxycodone to 2,000 patients. Should board certified Emergency Medicine physicians be the only ones allowed to work in hospital emergency departments? If so, there will be thousands of small hospitals across the country that will not have physician coverage of any type. Many people are concerned that lifting the 100 patient limit will cause the mass creation of "pill mills" but I would like to remind everyone that we already have "pill mills". They are called METHADONE CLINICS and many of them are run by physicians who are board certified in Addiction Medicine and who have the primary goal of making as much money as they can possibly make.
  46. Nancy Blake, M.D. Jan 21, 2016 - 01:48 PM
    I am not board certified in addiction medicine, I am a FP.  However, my practice is limited to treating addictions.  I can easily manage more than 100 patients.  I feel the limit should be increased for ANY physician treating patients, not just addiction specialists.
  47. Jo-Ann Bolli, M. D. Jan 13, 2016 - 01:26 PM
    In KY not only are we  limited to the 100 patients, we are not allowed to treat their psych co-morbidities like ADD, sleep disorders, or anxiety disorders.  If we are not Board Certified, we have a limit on dosing of 16 mg per day for one year, then we must find a Board Certified Addiction Medicine Specialist to consult. I live in a very small rural town, and draw from 4 states.  Our closest referral doctor is 5 hours away.
  48. John Budnick PA-C Jan 12, 2016 - 09:38 PM
    Allowing physician assistants who have a rich background in addiction medicine to assist in MAT with Suboxone would help immensely!!
  49. Jan Widerman D.O. Jan 12, 2016 - 09:20 AM
    The limit also impedes education in fellowship programs for addiction. What other specialty has limits on the number of patients you can treat? We all have to be able to make a living.
  50. Bob Rust, ABAM Jan 10, 2016 - 11:43 PM
    As an addiction specialist, it is difficult to get docs to accept my patients for family practice and seems impossible to get any of them to prescribe buprenorphine for pain for their patients who may be at risk for addiction. They are afraid to do so, even if the med is safer than opiates. Granted, off label, tho some forms are approved (patches). Fear is unfounded and due to insufficient education. Main fear is having addicts as patients. Need residencies to step up the education. Especially FM and IM.

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