What Is the Geographic Distribution of the Workforce with a DEA Waiver to Prescribe Buprenorphine?
Access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD) continues to be a challenge for many people, especially in rural locations. Many rural communities are planning strategies to expand access to MAT, and accurate information about the workforce with a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) waiver is crucial.
Nurse practitioners and physician assistants have recently become eligible for waivers, offering significant potential for expansion of the treatment workforce. This project described the supply and geographic distribution of the health workforce with a DEA waiver to prescribe buprenorphine to treat patients with OUD as well as examined trends over time. Using the current (2019) DEA list of waivered providers, we identified and mapped provider locations and waiver capacity. We also produced statistics on urban (metropolitan) vs. rural (nonmetropolitan) availability of providers, including sub-rural comparisons between micropolitan and non-core counties, using Urban Influence Codes. We compared findings to previous research and highlighted changes and trends in this workforce from 2012-2019.
Tracking the Geographic Distribution and Growth of Clinicians With a DEA Waiver to Prescribe Buprenorphine to Treat Opioid Use Disorder
WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
The increase in clinicians who can prescribe buprenorphine improves access to treatment for opioid use disorder. Small remote rural communities continue to experience access challenges. 63.1% of all rural counties had at least one clinician with a Drug Enforcement Administration waiver, but more than half of small remote rural counties did not.