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The Pulse

  • SAMHSA Publishes Draft Guidelines for Opioid Treatment Programs, Utilizing PAs


    by Sandy Harding, AAPA senior director of federal advocacy

    Representing a major shift in policy, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published guidelines for the accreditation of opioid treatment programs (OTPS) that allow PAs to assess, diagnose and admit patients with opioid addiction into opioid treatment programs. AAPA President Lawrence Herman, PA-C, MPA, lauded the proposed SAMHSA policy, citing the escalating problem of diversion and abuse of opioid drugs, stating that “the proposed draft guidelines will remove a significant barrier regarding PAs’ ability to provide desperately needed care for individuals abusing prescription drugs.” (See the complete comments.)

    Revising the SAMHSA guidelines for OTPs was one of many regulatory changes recommended by AAPA to Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in response to her request for recommendations to relieve the regulatory burden of PAs in providing quality medical care in rural areas.

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