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Not long ago, JUCM published an article (The X-Waiver Is No More: What This Means for Urgent Care) analyzing how removal of federal caps on prescribing buprenorphine—in effect, paving the way for any provider with a standard DEA controlled-medication license to prescribe—would impact the urgent care industry. On the heels of that, a new study published by JAMA Health Forum assessed the differences between providers who received Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA) waivers under the 2021 buprenorphine practice guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and those who received a DATA waiver through the traditional waiver approval pathways. Notably, their study population included urgent care among the practice settings considered—which turned out to be significant in that “those waivered under the education-exempted guidelines were less likely than traditionally waivered clinicians to prescribe buprenorphine and more likely to practice in emergency or urgent care settings.” Further, they commented that “education-exempted HHS practice guidelines brought in new clinicians, particularly physicians and clinicians practicing in ED and urgent care settings.” Prescribing rates were generally lower than they were among providers who received a traditional DATA waiver whether before or after release of the practice guidelines.

Could New Data Provide Clarity on Prescribing Buprenorphine in Urgent Care?