Date: February 23, 2023
To: Enrolled Physicians; Physician Assistants; Advanced Practice Nurses; and Pharmacies
Re: Removal of the DATA Waiver (X-Waiver) Requirement for Practitioners Prescribing Buprenorphine
This notice relays information released from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regarding removal of the DATA Waiver (X-Waiver) requirement for practitioners prescribing buprenorphine. This information applies to customers covered under the Medicaid fee-for-service (FFS) program and the managed care organizations (MCOs).
Previously, the federal government required practitioners with DEA licenses to also obtain a special waiver (known as an X-Waiver because the DEA Registration Number began with an X) to prescribe medications such as buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) in office-based settings outside of federally-registered opioid treatment programs. Health care providers were also restricted in the number of patients with opioid use disorder they could treat.
Section 1262 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (also known as the Omnibus bill), removes the federal requirement for practitioners to submit a Notice of Intent (have a waiver) to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of OUD. All practitioners who have a current DEA registration that includes Schedule III authority may now prescribe buprenorphine for OUD. There are no longer any annual limits on the number of patients that a prescriber may treat for OUD with buprenorphine. The January 12, 2023, letter from the DEA to waiver registrants identified these changes.
Pharmacies need to be aware of this change removing the requirement for the X-Waiver, as HFS has received complaints that prescribers without a DEA X-Waiver are experiencing difficulty having their prescriptions honored at local pharmacies.
Questions regarding this notice may be directed to the Bureau of Professional and Ancillary Services at 877-782-5565 for the FFS population, or the applicable MCO.
Kelly Cunningham, Administrator
Division of Medical Programs