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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

SAMHSA Finalizes Reporting Requirements on Medication-Assisted Treatment

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Last month, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) finalized its rule detailing annual reporting requirements for prescribers of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Earlier this year, SAMHSA increased the patient cap for MAT up to 275 patients per physician. The final rule outlines specific reporting requirements necessary to treat patients at this higher limit, including: annual caseload of patients by month, number of patients provided or referred to behavioral health services, and the features of the physicians’ diversion control plan.

In July, the National Council submitted comments on the rule, making clear our appreciation and approval of SAMHSA’s efforts to increase access to medication-assisted treatment. In addition, we offered suggestions on how to improve the rule to ensure maximum impact and effectiveness. SAMHSA acknowledged the suggestions made by the National Council and included revisions to the final rule based, in part, on our comments.

The National Council suggested that the Department of Health and Human Services collect additional data on the number of patients moving in and out of MAT within a given year. The proposed rule would have asked physicians to calculate and report the number of patients seen and treated every month. This burdensome and time consuming regulation was revised in the final rule to require physicians to report annual caseloads by month.

Additionally, the National Council suggested the collection of baseline data from physicians on how and under what circumstances patients are referred to or provided behavioral health services. The final rule requires MAT prescribers to record and report the number of patients receiving and being referred to behavioral health treatment services throughout the year in addition to their medication-assisted treatment.

Readers can find the final rule in its entirety here.