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Today, April 28, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) posted updated practice guidelines for the administration of buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder (OUD), which are effective immediately. These new guidelines allow eligible practitioners, including nurse practitioners (NPs), to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of OUD for up to 30 patients without requiring a DATA-waiver. As you may recall, at the end of the previous Administration, HHS released practice guidelines that authorized only physicians to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of OUD for up to 30 patients without requiring them to obtain a DATA-waiver, but at the time, HHS did not grant that flexibility to NPs, PAs, clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), certified nurse midwives (CNMs) or certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs).
The Biden Administration ultimately decided not to implement the prior guidelines and instead conducted a review of policies that inhibit access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is pleased that the Administration recognizes the important role of NPs in combating the opioid epidemic. These guidelines remove barriers for NPs and other eligible practitioners to provide MAT to patients in need, and we applaud the Administration for these important changes.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 290,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. For more information about AANP and AANP Fellows program, visit aanp.org.