EAST PROVIDENCE, May 18, 2017—Patients suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD) will soon have expanded access to care thanks to an anticipated increase in the number of healthcare providers qualified to treat this chronic disease that killed more than 30,000 people last year.

Providers’ Clinical Support System for Medication Assisted Treatment (PCSS-MAT), a project funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), today launched its free 24-hour course specifically developed for nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) to treat opioid use disorder. PCSS-MAT provides evidence-based trainings and educational resources to primary care clinicians.

PCSS-MAT, made up of a coalition of major healthcare organizations (see list below) led by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP), is jointly providing the course with continuing education by the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) and the American Academy of PAs (AAPA). NPs and PAs are required to accumulate a specific number of continuing education credits each year.

The 24 hours of coursework, mandated by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), is broken up into 1) an 8 hour MAT waiver training and 2) 16 hours of training for treating OUD. These courses were developed specifically for NPs and PAs. Once the 24 hours of training are completed, NPs and PAs may apply to SAMHSA for a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine, one of three FDA-approved medications for the treatment of OUD.

“PCSS-MAT has been a leader educating clinicians of all disciplines through webinars, modules, and mentors. It seems like a natural fit for PCSS to join forces educating and mentoring NPs and PAs to expand access to addiction treatment,” says Colleen LaBelle, MSN RN-BC CARN, Massachusetts Office Based Addiction Treatment Program Director. “Barriers to addiction treatment include providers apprehension to take on the complexities of this unfamiliar chronic relapsing disorder themselves. Utilizing interdisciplinary teams in primary care settings that are largely made up of NPs and PAs can provide much needed support for patient needs, time saving for prescriber, enhances outcomes, and increases the ability to disseminate addiction treatment more effectively and efficiently.”

Many NPs and PAs have already taken the eight-hour MAT waiver course and may apply their certificate of completion for that course toward the 24-hour requirement. All DATA 2000 organizations—including AAAP, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), American Psychiatric Association (APA), and American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM)—can provide the eight-hour MAT waiver course (note: some fees may apply for some courses).

For more information, go to PCSS-MAT.

PCSSMAT’s coalition includes: AAAP, Addiction Technology Transfer Center; American Academy of Family Practitioners; American Academy of Pain Medicine; American Academy of Pediatrics; American College of Emergency Physicians; American College of Physicians; American Dental Association; American Medical Association; American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine; American Psychiatric Association; American Psychiatric Nurses Association; American Society of Addictions Medicine; American Society for Pain Management Nursing; Association for Medical Education and Research for Substance Abuse; International Nurses Society on Addictions; National Association of Community Health Centers; and National Association of Drug Court Professionals.


PCSS-MAT is a national training and mentoring project developed in response to the prescription opioid use disorder epidemic and the availability of FDA-approved pharmacotherapies to address opioid use disorder. The overarching goal of PCSS-MAT is to make available the most effective medication-assisted treatments to serve patients in a variety of settings, including primary care, psychiatric care, substance use disorder treatment, and pain management settings.

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 program was planned in accordance with AAPA’s CME Standards for Enduring Material Programs and for Commercial Support of Enduring Material Programs.

This program has been reviewed and is approved for a maximum of 8.00 AAPA Category 1 CME credits by the AAPA Review Panel. Approval is valid for one year from the issue date of 05/17/2017.

This program has been reviewed and is approved for a maximum of 16.00 AAPA Category 1 CME credits by the AAPA Review Panel. Approval is valid for one year from the issue date of 05/17/2017.

Funding for this initiative was made possible (in part) by Providers’ Clinical Support System for Medication Assisted Treatment (grant no. 1U79TI026556) from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.