Removal of a DEA Training Requirement Would Eliminate Treatment Barriers for OUD Providers

May 25, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
Removal of a DEA Training Requirement Would Eliminate Treatment Barriers for OUD Providers
Lead nurse Shaniece Harris, LPN, provides a patient at the Connections Withdrawal Management Center in Harrington, Delaware with medication assisted treatment to help individuals recover from opioid use disorder courtesy of USDA Flickr.

WASHINGTON — The House Committee on Energy and Commerce recently voted to advance provisions of two bills which would eliminate special DEA licensing and expand baseline education for treatment providers who prescribe buprenorphine — a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat those with opioid use disorder. 

“There were a lot of questions around why this special licensing exists…[many treatment providers] actually think this is a pretty big barrier as a multidimensional issue relating to patient access,” said Dr. Shawn Ryan, co-founder, president and chief medical officer of Brightview Health, during a phone call with The Well News.

The special licensing in question is known as the data waiver 2000, which was established through the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000, and the SUPPORT Act of 2018, to expand medication-assisted treatment using buprenorphine to additional practitioners in various settings. 

Under the requirement, to administer, dispense and prescribe buprenorphine, a practitioner must receive the DEA waiver through an eight-hour training which is specific to buprenorphine, and abide by practice guidance that limits providers to treating up to no more than 100 patients at any one time. 


 The Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act, H.R. 1384, known as the MAT Act, would eliminate the requirement that health care practitioners apply for this separate waiver through the DEA to prescribe buprenorphine for OUD treatment.

“There are little to no licensing requirements like this in medicine,” said Ryan.

“This specific license is a barrier to patient access, but we don’t want to not require some education for addiction for providers who are willing to prescribe buprenorphine,” continued Ryan.

Instead of needing to obtain the DEA waiver, the Medication Access and Training Expansion Act, H.R. 2067, known as the MATE Act , would ensure that providers have a baseline knowledge of how to treat patients with substance use disorder from accredited organizations or an accredited health professional school or residency program. 

The U.S. Senate is currently considering companion pieces for both the MATE and MAT Acts.

“Is this medication so dangerous you need a special license to prescribe it? No. Is it a possible barrier to access for patients? Yes. Let’s say your primary care provider in a small town is busy seeing 40-50 patients a day. They would have to take eight hours of their time to get this special education, and it’s a very specific education to the medication,” said Ryan.


Ryan said that for the other two FDA-approved medications used to treat opioid use disorders, buprenorphine is the only one which requires this special licensing waiver.

“Buprenorphine is by and large a bit safer than methadone,” said Ryan.

The MAT and MATE legislation hit the House floor just as U.S. drug overdose deaths topped 100,000 for the first time in 2021, a 15% increase over the previous year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was released on May 11.

The National Institutes of Health published findings in 2018 that compared to those not receiving medication assisted treatment, opioid overdose deaths decreased by 38% for those receiving buprenorphine over the 12-month follow-up period.

Ryan said there are a few other barriers which the MAT Act is trying to address, such as the difficulty of having to track the number of patients that a practitioner with this special license can prescribe to in a single day. 

“You have to track and maintain information on these patients specifically. So, on top of all the regular mountain of paperwork you have to do on each patient, you have to keep track of this, and the DEA does audits to make sure they have those records,” said Ryan.

“We have full time staff that do nothing but medication tracking data… there’s never been a great reason for it. Our prescribing record already has the record for the electronic prescription… and the pharmacy has it documented when they are given the medication. It’s redundant paperwork,” said Ryan.

The MAT Act would remove these limits and barriers and tracking mechanisms by lifting the requirement for DEA waiver. 


“The theory here is that medical providers can, and should, be able to self-regulate how many patients they can see,” said Ryan.

Alexa can be reached at [email protected] 

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Health

June 29, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
White House Blueprint Tackles Maternal Health Crisis 

The White House has new plans to address maternal mortality through the Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis, an effort... Read More

The White House has new plans to address maternal mortality through the Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis, an effort to increase access and coverage for certain maternal health services, including behavioral health. The blueprint outlines five priorities to improve maternal health and outcomes: increasing access... Read More

June 29, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
FDA Advisors Lean Into Modifying COVID-19 Vaccines to Be Omicron-Specific

Key advisors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration met on Tuesday to examine COVID-19 vaccines and whether there is need for... Read More

Key advisors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration met on Tuesday to examine COVID-19 vaccines and whether there is need for modification as protection wanes. During the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting, a majority of the panel, 19-2, ruled in favor of manufacturing an... Read More

June 29, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022 Sails Through House

The Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022 was passed by the House on June 22 to tackle mental... Read More

The Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022 was passed by the House on June 22 to tackle mental illness and substance use disorder in the country, especially for rural and low-income communities.  The act passed the House with a vote of 402-20, and reauthorizes... Read More

June 29, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
Equity and Accountability Act Addresses Health Disparities

Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., have provided a roadmap for eliminating racial and ethnic health inequities. The senators’... Read More

Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., have provided a roadmap for eliminating racial and ethnic health inequities. The senators’ new legislation is called the Health Equity and Accountability Act, and they released it on June 24. The bill lays out 10 provisions and additional investments Congress... Read More

June 29, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
WHO Members Express Continued Concerns Over COVID and Monkeypox 

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called Wednesday for accelerated efforts to develop a pan-coronavirus vaccine. He said that while... Read More

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called Wednesday for accelerated efforts to develop a pan-coronavirus vaccine. He said that while honing vaccines to the evolving virus variants makes sense, he is concerned that the pace of mutation means the world is continuing to play catch up. ... Read More

June 29, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
NIH-Funded Study Reveals Evolutionary Tricks Tied to Health Longevity

National Institutes of Health-funded research released on June 23 offers new insights into why aging rates vary when it comes to evolutionary... Read More

National Institutes of Health-funded research released on June 23 offers new insights into why aging rates vary when it comes to evolutionary tricks, such as having armor and venom. The research was led by Ronald Kohanski, who serves as a director of the National Institute on Aging at... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top