• Payment Program Aims to Boost Health Center OUD Treatment

    FPs With New Buprenorphine Waiver May Be Eligible

    July 13, 2021, 12:21 p.m. News Staff — The Health Resources and Services Administration, in an effort to improve patient access to treatment for substance use disorder, recently launched a new program that will pay certain facilities for employing FPs and other clinicians who have recently obtained clearance to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder. FPs who are employed by health centers and received an X-waiver on or after Jan. 1, 2019, may be eligible.

    waiver on keyboard

    The DATA 2000 Waiver Training Payment Program, which began June 30 and will continue until its funds are exhausted, allows federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics to apply to HRSA for payment on behalf of their eligible clinicians. Following a review process, HRSA will pay the facility $3,000 for each eligible clinician on the application. Facilities will then have the option of passing that payment on to the clinicians. Family physicians who think they are eligible to be included on an application are encouraged to speak with their employer about the program and possible compensation.

    FQHCs and RHCs have proved to be a valuable resource for many patients for decades, providing millions of people in underserved communities with access to affordable health care services they may not otherwise be able to receive. These facilities have been instrumental in advancing health equity during the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, for example, found that between Jan. 8, 2021, and May 21, 2021, more than 60% of COVID-19 vaccines given at community health centers such as FQHCs were administered to people of color.

    How to Apply

    Interested facilities will first need to create a System for Award Management account and an HRSA Electronic Handbooks account before applying.

    Once both accounts have been created, FQHCs and RHCs can apply for payment electronically. After submission, HRSA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will review the applications to determine eligibility. A step-by-step process for submitting the program application and checking application status is available online.

    Who Qualifies?

    According to an HRSA FAQ document, the agency will only process payments for health centers certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as an active FQHC or RHC.

    Eligible clinicians, meanwhile, include only individuals who

    1. are a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist or certified registered nurse anesthetist;
    2. are employed by or are working under contract for an FQHC or RHC; and
    3. obtained a DATA 2000 waiver that allows them to offer buprenorphine for the treatment of OUD on or after Jan. 1, 2019.

    Don’t Wait – Apply Now

    A total of $8 million will be available for disbursement, thanks to provisions included in the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention That Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, with $6 million set aside for FQHCs and the remaining $2 million reserved for RHCs.

    While there is no deadline to apply, funds are limited and will be paid on a first-come, first-served basis. HRSA will accept applications from eligible facilities and process payments until all funds are depleted.

    Organizations and clinicians with additional questions are encouraged to contact HRSA for more information.