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HHS Proposes Increasing Buprenorphine Patient Limit for Medication-Assisted Treatment.

With the goal of expanding access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT), United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed a rule that would permit qualified physicians to prescribe buprenorphine, the opioid use disorder treatment medication, to as many as 200 patients. Under current regulations, physicians who are certified to prescribe buprenorphine for MAT can only prescribe up to 30 patients initially and after one year can request authorization to prescribe up to a maximum of 100 patients. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto states “there are long patient waiting lists for prescribers who have reached the 100 patient limit.”
Buprenorphine is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug used as part of MAT, a comprehensive way to address the recovery needs of individuals that combines the use of medication with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders, indicates the HHS press release. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said the proposal “is critical in our comprehensive approach to addressing the serious opioid epidemic facing our nation.” More information about MAT and increasing the patient limit is available in the HHS fact sheet.
Written or electronic comments on the proposed rule must be submitted by May 31, 2016. The Federal Register notice contains instructions and additional information for submitting public comment.