New Buprenorphine Practice Guidelines Remove Some Waiver Requirements When Treating Less Than 30 Patients

Last Updated: May 6, 2021

On April 28, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new buprenorphine practice guidelines. Among other things, the Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder exempt eligible physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse midwives from federal certification requirements related to training, counseling, and other ancillary services that are part of the process for obtaining a waiver to treat up to 30 patients with buprenorphine.

Do you still need to apply for a waiver if you’re treating less than 30 patients? The answer is yes. In its FAQs, HHS clarifies that while these guidelines exempt eligible practitioners from certification requirements related to training and the provision of psychosocial services, which were previously necessary when dispensing or prescribing buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) to 30 or fewer patients, submission, and approval of a Notice of Intent (NOI) remains legally necessary in order to use buprenorphine in the treatment of patients with OUD.

More resources from HHS:

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