Learn More About the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act

What is the MATE Act and what does it mean for accredited continuing education?

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently released materials related to the new Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act. The Act requires new or renewing DEA licensees, as of June 27, 2023, to have completed a total of at least eight hours of training on opioid or other substance use disorders, as well as the safe pharmacological management of dental pain.

The MATE Act greatly expands the opportunities for practitioners to fulfill their training requirements, including via accredited continuing education (CE). The full guidance is available here.

“Given the urgency of the nation’s overdose crisis, the importance of practitioners receiving training in substance use disorders (SUD) cannot be overstated. Incorporating training on SUD into routine healthcare will enable practitioners to screen more widely for substance use disorders, treat pain appropriately, prevent substance misuse, and engage people in life-saving interventions.”  

What should accredited CE providers know about this new guidance? 
1. The guidance makes clear that the eight (8) required hours of training: 

  • Can be provided through different activity formats (e.g. live, online, enduring, etc.); 
  • Can be fulfilled by engagement in prior, current, or future accredited CME/CE activities; and 
  • Do not have to be completed in one session and can be satisfied through a combination of activities.  

2. Practitioners who previously took training to meet the requirements of the DATA-2000 waiver to prescribe buprenorphine can count this training towards the 8-hour training requirements. 

3. At the present time, SAMHSA has elected not to undertake a lengthy rulemaking process and wants to avoid creating a burdensome system for applications, review, and approval. Instead, their guidance puts the implementation of this training in the hands of the system of accredited CE providers. ACCME is pursuing opportunities to leverage its data systems to make it easy for accredited providers and their learners to engage in education that meets DEA expectations.

4. SAMHSA’s guidance does not establish legally binding standards for substance use disorder curricula but provides recommendations for core elements and content of substance use disorder curricula that accredited providers can leverage for their CE programs. Recommendations include, but are not limited to, addressing core competencies for diagnosing and treating substance use disorders, incorporating culturally competent collaboration and clinical practice, Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, and addressing barriers for engaging patients into treatment such as trauma, historical biases, and stigma. ACCME will collaborate with SAMHSA to help disseminate resources for educators via its website, communications, and educational events.

5. SAMHSA’s guidance embraces the current expectations of accredited CE providers related to learning and healthcare outcomes, specifying that educational activities should be designed for, and measure changes in, one or more of the following elements:

  • Learner competence (knows how, can apply knowledge to a scenario)
  • Learner performance (shows, can demonstrate a change in practice or processes)
  • Patient health (does, can show how patients have responded to a change) 
  • Community or population health (does, can show how groups of people have responded) 

6. SAMHSA recommends that content should be related to the prevention, recognition, and care of people with substance use disorders including those with concurrent pain and/or psychiatric and medical co-morbidities. Recommended core curricular training elements could include the categories of substance use disorders, effective treatment planning, and pain management and substance misuse.

Opportunities for accredited providers
There are several ways accredited providers can take action now:

  • Educate your stakeholders, including organizational leadership, planners, faculty, and learners, on this guidance. Feel free to share this communication with your teams.
  • Plan and register your pain and substance use disorder (SUD)-related activities in PARS so that learners can search for and find activities that would support the MATE Act expectations on www.CMEPassport.org.
  • Help your learners understand that your accredited CE activities meet the SAMHSA/DEA expectations and can be used to fulfill the MATE Act requirement for prescribers.

The ACCME, together with a number of CE accreditors and other stakeholders, has taken an active role to provide insight to the federal government through participation in the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Countering the Opioid Epidemic, our continuing collaboration with the US FDA on Opioid Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS), and in recent meetings with government authorities. We are sharing this information to keep you informed and help you to continue to ensure that your CE offerings are supportive of the needs of the healthcare workforce, including efforts to curb the pain and substance use crisis in the US.

To learn more, visit our MATE Act page, which includes additional frequently asked questions.

We will continue to keep you informed as this guidance evolves. Questions? We’re happy to help! Contact info@accme.org.