HHS is waiving certification requirements for physicians to prescribe the drug buprenorphine in an effort to expand access to medical-assisted treatment to stem a stark rise in opioid overdose deaths over the past year.
New practice guidelines released by HHS on Thursday will allow any physician licensed by the Drug Enforcement Agency can prescribe buprenorphine to up to 30 patients without having to go through the standard process to become authorized, which requires clinicians to undergo eight hours of training.
Only physicians can qualify for the exemption, and the 30 patient cap will not apply to hospital-based physicians, such as those who work in emergency departments. Physicians will be limited to treating patients located in states in which they are authorized to practice medicine, and it will not include the prescribing of methadone.
HHS said the certifications “represent a significant perceived barrier to prescribing buprenorphine.”
The guideline change leaves out