AAFP says don’t burden doctors treating addiction with reporting requirements

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While the federal government is taking steps to enable physicians to care for more patients addicted to opioids, it should not tie the hands of doctors with new reporting requirements, says the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

The physician group supports a proposed rule that will allow certified doctors to treat more patients with medications to help them recover from addiction, but said in an announcement the requirements for physicians to track the progress of those patients is overly burdensome.

A proposed rule published in the Federal Register by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will allow doctors qualified to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid use disorders, to prescribe the drug to as many as 275 patients. Doctors are currently limited to treating 100 patients at a time.

In an August 5 letter, AAFP Board Chairman Robert Wergin, M.D., said the group supports expanding access to treatment, but expressed reservations about the specific, detailed reporting requirements that practices would be expected to follow. The AAFP said the proposed rule requires physicians document patient progress “in exhaustive detail.”

While increasing the number of patients doctors can treat, the final rule falls short of the 500 patient limit proposed by a group of U.S. senators.

- here's the proposed rule (.pdf)
- read the announcement
- check out the letter (.pdf)