AMSTERDAM, NY—Congressman Paul D. Tonko cheered news today that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will release new practice guidelines that scale back the so-called “x-waiver” and allow practitioners to more easily prescribe buprenorphine—a proven effective opioid addiction treatment—to patients. Tonko has long fought to remove this outdated barrier and expand access to the life-saving medication with his bipartisan bill, the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act.
“The Biden Administration’s move today takes a pivotal step to scale back the outdated x-waiver and open the doors to safe, effective treatment for countless Americans struggling with the disease of addiction,” Congressman Tonko said. “This policy change comes at an urgent moment as our nation faces spiking rates of overdose deaths and as burdens on our healthcare system continue to mount. My heartfelt congratulations to the leaders and advocates who continue to push to eliminate this pointless bureaucratic barrier to healthcare and bring America ever closer to our goal of making treatment our first line of defense against this ongoing epidemic. For the sake of countless struggling neighbors, friends and loved ones across every American community, Congress needs pass my Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act now so we can eliminate the x-waiver once and for all and ensure these life-saving reforms are grounded in law and can be brought into full and immediate effect.”
Signed by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, 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.