In an effort to get evidenced-based treatment to more Americans with opioid use disorder, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is releasing new buprenorphine practice guidelines that among other things, remove a longtime requirement tied to training, which some practitioners have cited as a barrier to treating more people.
Signed by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, the Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder exempt eligible physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives from federal certification requirements related to training, counseling and other ancillary services that are part of the process for obtaining a waiver to treat up to 30 patients with buprenorphine.
“The spike we’ve seen in opioid involved deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic requires us to do all we can to make treatment more accessible.” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Tom Coderre, who leads HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “Americans with this chronic disease need and deserve readily available access to life-saving, evidence-based treatment options. These new guidelines are an important step forward in reducing barriers to treatment and will ultimately help more people find recovery.”