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ASAM Applauds HHS Action to Allow NPs and PAs to Treat Patients with Addiction

by ASAM Staff | November 16, 2016

November 16, 2016 – Today, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced that nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) can immediately begin taking the 24 hours of required training to prescribe buprenorphine to treat patients with addiction involving opioids use, as authorized by the recently passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). NPs and PAs who complete the required training and seek to prescribe buprenorphine for up to 30 patients will be able to apply to do so beginning in early 2017. ASAM applauds this announcement as an important step to help close the well-documented addiction treatment gap.

“ASAM has long supported the expansion of buprenorphine prescribing privileges to NPs and PAs, and we are pleased that our NP and PA colleagues will now be able to be a part of the solution to the opioid epidemic,” said ASAM President-elect Dr. Kelly Clark. “This action effectively expands our addiction treatment workforce and may open up much-needed access to care for those suffering from this disease.”

HHS also announced today its intent to initiate rulemaking to allow NPs and PAs who have prescribed at the 30-patient limit for one year to apply for a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine for up to 100 patients.

ASAM looks forward to continuing to work with SAMHSA and our partner organizations representing NPs and PAs to facilitate training opportunities and support these clinicians as they work to fill the addiction treatment gap with evidence-based care.

Read SAMHSA release here.

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