State alignment with federal regulations in 2022 to relax buprenorphine 30-patient waiver requirements

Anita Silwal, Jeffery Talbert, Robert M Bohler, Jordan Kelsch, Christopher Cook, Derek Blevins, Molly Gallivan, Timothy Hunt, Sarah M Hatcher, Cindy Parks Thomas, Soncere Williams, Laura Fanucchi, Michelle R Lofwall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: In 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services released guidelines allowing waiver-eligible providers seeking to treat up to 30 patients to be exempt from waiver training (WT) and the counseling and other ancillary services (CAS) attestation. This study evaluates if states and the District of Columbia had more restrictive policies preventing adoption of the 2021 federal guidelines.

METHODS: First, the Westlaw database was searched for buprenorphine regulations. Second, state medical, osteopathic, physician assistant, nursing boards, and single state agencies (SSA) were surveyed to assess for the WT and CAS requirements and if they were discussing the 2021 guidelines. Results were recorded and compared by state and waiver-eligible provider types.

RESULTS: The Westlaw search revealed seven states with regulations requiring the WT and ten states requiring CAS. Survey results showed ten state boards/SSAs required WT for at least one waiver-eligible practitioner type and eleven state boards/SSAs required CAS. In some states, the WT and CAS requirements only applied in special circumstances. Eleven states had discrepancies between the Westlaw and survey results among three waiver-eligible provider types.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the 2021 federal change intended to increase access to buprenorphine, several states had regulations and/or provider boards and SSAs that were not supportive. Now, the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act of 2022 eliminated the federal x-waiver requirement to prescribe buprenorphine. However, these states may continue to have barriers to treatment access despite the MAT Act. Strategies to engage states with these restrictive policies are needed to improve buprenorphine treatment capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100164
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence reports
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.


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