May 04, 2021
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released new guidelines that would expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder by making it easier for physicians to prescribe buprenorphine.
HHS, under the Trump administration, had previously announced on January 14, 2021, that new guidelines would be issued, but the Biden Administration paused implementation so they could evaluate all regulatory actions that were taken in the last few weeks of the previous administration.
The California Medical Association (CMA) and organized medicine sent a joint letter to the Biden Administration requesting that this rule be allowed to move forward.
Under the new guidelines issued by the Biden Administration, physicians and other prescribers still must apply to the Drug Enforcement Administration for a waiver, but they will no longer need to complete special training, as long as they are prescribing the medication for no more than 30 patients at a time. The guidelines put forth by the Trump Administration would have eliminated the waiver entirely, but the Biden Administration says that to do so would require an act of Congress.
CMA supports efforts to increase access to much-needed medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders. Across the country, many people suffering from opioid use disorder are unable to access medication-assisted treatment for their condition due to a lack of nearby physicians with waivers to prescribe buprenorphine.