Nurse Practitioners Included In Bill To Increase Opioid Treatments

Oct 3, 2018

A bill moving through Congress would open access for nurse practitioners to prescribe medication assisted treatment, or MAT, for people in opioid treatment. A number of the policies in the SUPPORT Act focus on increased access to opioid treatment – including medication assisted treatment.  

Angela Thompson is the Indiana state representative of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She says this new bill would abolish an attached probationary period for NPs.

"Retire that sunset clause so it would be indefinitely that nurse practitioners and physician assistants could provide those services," says Thompson. 

Nurse practitioners or NPs would still need to receive training and apply for a waiver to prescribe MAT.  An estimated 190 NPs have gone through the training to date.  

Behavioral therapy and MAT, is proven to help some people in opioid recovery, but access to it can be impaired by provider shortages.  

The legislation has support from both Indiana senators. 

Thompson says, in Indiana, NPs still have to collaborate with a doctor to prescribe.

"You have to have a practice agreement, with a physician, in order to be able to prescribe medications – not to provide treatment, but to prescribe medications," says Thompson. 

Other parts of the bill would reimburse providers to work in addiction treatment, provide related recovery efforts for children and families and aim to curb the sale of fentanyl.