August 3, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jenni Roberson, 703.380.2764
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (January 15, 2021) – The American Academy of PAs (AAPA) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) have submitted a joint letter to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar, in response to the recent HHS notice of “Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder.”
The new guidelines authorize physicians to prescribe medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to up to 30 patients without requiring a buprenorphine waiver but do not remove this barrier for PAs and NPs – an oversight AAPA and AANP ask HHS to correct.
“While these new guidelines would remove barriers for physicians, they exacerbate the disparity in requirements between physicians, NPs and PAs and could inadvertently lead to fewer PAs and NPs obtaining DATA waivers, which we do not believe was the intent of HHS,” the joint letter states.
In their letter, AAPA and AANP underscore the critical role PAs and NPs have played in addressing opioid use disorder, especially since the passage of the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act when Congress made permanent the authorization for PAs and NPs to obtain DATA waivers.
“PAs and NPs have a proven and vital role in addressing the opioid epidemic, and we look forward to working with HHS to ensure that they are able to continue to provide this medically necessary treatment within their communities,” the groups state.
About the American Academy of PAs
AAPA is the national membership organization for all PAs. PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. Learn more about the profession at aapa.org and engage through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.