FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Falls Church, VA - January 30, 2017

American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) Partners with Providers’ Clinical Support System for Medicated Assisted Treatment (PCSS-MAT) to Offer No Cost MAT Waiver Training to Nurses and PAs

With the passage of the CARA Act, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA)-funded Providers’ Clinical Support System for Medication Assisted Treatment (PCSS-MAT) will jointly provide, at no cost, the 24 hours of training required for nurses and physician assistants to obtain waivers to prescribe buprenorphine in the treatment of opioid use disorder.

Advanced Practice Nurses/Nurse Practitioners and PAs who wish to offer medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders, including buprenorphine, can visit www.apna.org/PCSSMAT to learn more about the status of the waiver process and the 24 hours of continuing nursing education.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), signed into law on July 22, 2016, increased access to treatment for opioid use disorders by expanding the qualified providers who can prescribe medication assisted treatment to include advanced practice nurses (APRNs)/nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs). The regulation (S. 524) stipulates that APRNs and PAs can now apply for waivers to prescribe buprenorphine and provide medicated assisted treatment (MAT) when they have completed 24 hours of approved training. APNA and PCSS-MAT will jointly provide, at no cost, 24 hours of online training with continuing education contact hours for nurses in order to increase access to treatment needed urgently due to the prescription opioid misuse epidemic.

“Through this free training, APRNs will be able to increase access to treatments which will help reduce opioid use disorders and deaths by overdose,” says APNA President Kris A. McLoughlin, DNP, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, CADC-II, FAAN. “We are pleased that NPs and PAs were granted authority to obtain waivers through the CARA legislation. In order to meaningfully impact the opioid misuse epidemic, however, we continue to call for changes in this legislation to also include Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs), who in psychiatric-mental health have a shared scope of practice with NPs and compose approximately 50% of the psychiatric-mental health advanced practice nurse workforce.”

“We are excited to join collaboratively with APNA to extend to nurses and PAs these training opportunities we have been providing to physicians through the PCSS-MAT program,” says Kathryn Cates-Wessel, Executive Director of AAAP, Principal Investigator and Project Director of PCSS-MAT.

Advanced Practice Nurses/Nurse Practitioners and PAs who wish to offer medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders, including buprenorphine, can visit www.apna.org/PCSSMAT to learn more about the status of the waiver process and the 24 hours of continuing nursing education. MAT includes prescribing medications with a combination of behavioral therapy to treat opioid use disorders. The implementation of the training and waiver process is not yet fully developed by the responsible federal agencies. APNA is providing the opportunity to sign up to receive email updates as implementation moves forward, including when this training co-provided by APNA and PCSS-MAT will be available and when waivers are able to be dispensed to providers who meet the stipulated requirements.

Offering this free training with nursing continuing education credit, including pharmacology contact hours, adds incentive for nurses to complete the training. This initiative will support the overall goal to increase the number of qualified clinicians who can provide medication assisted treatment to persons with opioid use disorders. APNA membership is not required to access this free continuing nursing education. The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited with distinction as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. This training will meet nationally recognized accreditation standards for continuing nursing education according to the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

PCSS-MAT is a coalition of multiple national professional organizations, led by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP), which includes the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), American College of Physicians (ACP), American Psychiatric Association (APA), American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM), the American Society of Addictions Medicine (ASAM) and the Association of Medical Education and Research for Substance Abuse (AMERSA), and National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). PCSS-MAT provides evidence-based education and training resources at no cost to health professionals in the prevention, identification and treatment of opioid use disorder.

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is a national professional membership organization committed to the specialty practice of psychiatric-mental health nursing and wellness promotion, prevention of mental health problems and the care and treatment of persons with psychiatric disorders. APNA’s membership is inclusive of all psychiatric-mental health registered nurses including associate degree, baccalaureate, advanced practice (comprised of clinical nurse specialists and psychiatric nurse practitioners), and nurse scientists and academicians (PhD). APNA serves as a resource for psychiatric-mental health nurses to engage in networking, education, and the dissemination of research.

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited with distinction as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.