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Medical providers are commonly aware of the need for registration with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in order to prescribe, administer, or prescribe controlled substances. However, the recent MATE Act has added a requirement to receive or renew that registration. This blog looks at some of the basics of DEA registration and the new training that the MATE Act requires and strives to answer what may be common questions about these topics.  

Why is DEA Registration Important?

DEA registration is an essential part of practicing as a healthcare provider in the United States. Any practitioner of medicine who wishes to dispense, administer, or prescribe controlled substances must have an active DEA registration. Being registered for these activities applies not only to physicians but to physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Additionally, even providers engaged in locums tenens work must also have an active DEA registration to be able to prescribe, dispense, or administer controlled substances.

What are the Standard Requirements for Obtaining and Maintaining DEA Registration? 

Obtaining DEA registration requires a practitioner to fill out a new application with the DEA. Before June 2023, the information needed to complete that application for a new registrant only included providing a full name, address, social security number, phone number, email address, business activity and drug schedule, state medical and/or controlled substances licenses or registrations, and any information in the applicant’s background related to controlled substances. 

In order to maintain DEA registration once it has been obtained, a practitioner must fill out a renewal form with the DEA for consideration, which can be found on the DEA’s website.

How Often is Registration Renewal Required? 

DEA Registrations must be renewed every three years – the MATE Act has not changed this requirement. Following the date of registration expiration, the practitioner will have one calendar month to have registration reinstated. If renewal of the registration does not occur until after that calendar month, the practitioner will need to apply for a new DEA registration. The process of obtaining registration renewal usually takes between four to six weeks when submitted before the expiration date. For most types of renewal, the DEA advises that submission of a renewal form should occur no earlier than sixty days before the date of expiration.

What is the MATE Act and What are its Requirements?

The Medication Access and Training Expansion Act, better known as the MATE Act, comes from the Consolidated Appropriations Act §1263(a). The Act added another one-time requirement to receiving initial registration or renewing the registration and went into effect on June 27, 2023. Under the MATE Act, providers (including physician assistants and nurse practitioners), must complete eight (8) hours of training on treating and managing opioid use, or other substance use disorders within patients. This new training rule applies to any application submitted on or after June 27, 2023, whether it be an initial application for registration or an application for renewal occurring on or after that date. New applicants applying on or after June 27, 2023, should have completed training to submit their application. For those practitioners renewing their registration on or after the MATE Act goes into effect, training should be completed for the first renewal that falls on or after that date. 

Some medical providers may satisfy the training requirement without engaging in the additional eight (8) hours of training. Providers can check with the DEA to determine if they are board-certified in a specialty that is considered to have met the training requirements or to determine if they recently (within five (5) years of June 27, 2023) completed a curriculum that meets the DEA’s training requirements. 

Who Can Medical Providers Receive Training From?

The DEA provides the list of accredited groups that offer training to help practitioners fulfill the eight (8) hours of required training. 

Does the Training Have to be Completed All at Once?

No, training can occur at different times to satisfy the eight (8) hours needed. 

How is Completion of Training Indicated on an Application or Renewal Form?

Providers have to check a box on their application or renewal form stating that they have completed eight (8) hours of training. 

How Often Does Training Need to be Completed to Satisfy the MATE Act?

Training only has to be completed once to fulfill this new requirement for DEA registration. 

Other Considerations 

Medical Providers can find further information regarding the MATE Act on the DEA website. Additionally, physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, and other medical providers should ensure that they comply with any state or local rules, regulations, and licensure requirements regarding controlled substances.

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