HHS to Let Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants Prescribe Buprenorphine

HHS to Let Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants Prescribe Buprenorphine

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) may immediately begin taking the 24 hours of required training to prescribe the opioid use disorder treatment, buprenorphine.

NPs and PAs who complete the required training will be able to prescribe buprenorphine to up to 30 patients beginning in early 2017. Previously, only physicians could prescribe buprenorphine. Once NPs and PAs receive their waiver they can begin prescribing buprenorphine immediately.

HHS also is announcing its intent to initiate rulemaking to allow NPs and PAs who have prescribed at the 30 patient limit for one year, to apply for a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine for up to 100 patients.

As the opioid epidemic continues to cause significant health concerns, the presence of additional buprenorphine prescribers may help increase access to much-needed opioid dependence treatment. As opioids are common in workers’ compensation, it is also possible we will see increased prescribing of buprenorphine in this space.

To learn more, read the HHS Press Release.