On April 28, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released new practice guidelines for administering buprenorphine.
The guidelines exempt many health care providers — eligible physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse midwives — from a two-decade old rule mandating they receive one day’s training before they can prescribe the treatment to patients with an opioid use disorder. The clinicians must be licensed under state law and possess a federal waiver to practice this form of medication-assisted treatment and a valid Drug Enforcement Administration registration.
The new guidance still requires providers to receive the federal government’s permission to prescribe buprenorphine, but those treating 30 or fewer patients with the drug are exempted from the training and the requirement they offer counseling and other ancillary services. Eligible clinicians who wish to treat more patients may seek a waiver under the established protocols.