January 26, 2023
On Tuesday, Jan. 24, Blake Fagan, MD, attended the bipartisan “White House Removing Barriers to Treatment” event which celebrated the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act signed by President Biden in December 2022.
This new law expands access to the anti-opioid medication buprenorphine by removing the X-Waiver Program and other administrative steps required to prescribe it. Without these barriers, doctors can prescribe buprenorphine with only the standard controlled-substance license required for most other medicines. “The MAT Act makes it easier for patients with Opioid Use Disorder to receive lifesaving medication-assisted treatment from their healthcare providers,” said a Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) representative in a statement.
Dr. Fagan leads the office-based opioid treatment services at MAHEC family centers and received his invite on behalf of MAHEC. He has long practiced this crucial care for rural patients in North Carolina and became Chair of the center’s Family Medicine Department in January 2022. In this role he oversees focused care for the underserved rural populations most at risk to opioid addiction, the “important work in addressing the nation’s opioid crisis” which the MAHEC statement says “resulted in the invitation to the White House event.”
The event also hosted leaders of the national response, including Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Anne Milgram, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. (Dr. Gupta is pictured above with Dr. Fagan.)
“At a time when our nation has experienced 107,000 drug overdoses and poisoning in just one year’s time, this change could not have come sooner,” said Dr. Gupta during the event.
Dr. S. Mark McNeill, Secretary-Treasurer at the NCAFP, commended Dr. Fagan and the work he’s done with MAHEC: “The event is to celebrate the bipartisan effort to remove bureaucratic barriers to prescribing buprenorphine,” he says.
The North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians, Inc. (NCAFP) is a nonprofit professional association headquartered in Raleigh which represents over 4,300 family physicians, family medicine residents, and medical students across the state. It is the largest medical specialty association in North Carolina and is a constituent chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians, based in Leadwood, KS.
For more information about the NCAFP or to speak with Dr. Fagan, please contact NCAFP Communications and Membership Manager Kevin LaTorre at email@example.com or (919) 980-5381.
Established nearly five decades ago, the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) is a leader in healthcare, education, and innovation. Headquartered in Asheville with satellite offices in various locations across its 16-county western North Carolina service area, MAHEC is the largest of nine Area Health Education Centers in the state. With more than 1,000 employees, MAHEC recruits, trains, and retains the workforce needed to create a healthy North Carolina, with a focus on primary care in rural communities and those with less access to resources.
For more information about MAHEC, please contact MAHEC Communications Manager Kathi Petersen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (828) 712-1286.