Combating the Opioid Crisis: New Rules Will Improve Patient Care and Addiction Treatment in Michigan

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

December 18, 2018 – New modernized rules for Substance Use Disorder facilities will improve patient care, enhance addiction treatment options, and reduce regulatory burdens on licensees that are providing essential services to help residents recover from the tragic opioid crisis in Michigan. 

“The new rules will improve treatment options for Michigan’s most vulnerable communities and individuals that have experienced the consequences of the opioid epidemic,” said Shelly Edgerton, director of the Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). “The new rules reduce cumbersome regulations and simplify requirements while simultaneously modernizing care for those who need it most.” 

LARA engaged with federal associations, sister states, statewide organizations, local partners and individual licensees in order to construct rules that improve patient care in Michigan.

This is the first time the rules have been updated since 1981. In addition to reducing the number of rules from 103 to 50, the new rules better reflect the diverse array of treatment options and modern use of licensed professionals available to assist patients suffering from addiction. Specifically, the new rules:

  • Expand the use of other licensed health care professionals including physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, and licensed practical nurses.
  • Expand the use of other licensed and certified professionals for counseling services, which greatly expands the pool of possible employees.
  • Allow for the use of telemedicine.
  • Eliminate select full-time staffing and ratio requirements where appropriate which reduces burden, matches current practice in other states, and benefits licensees and care recipients.
  • Clarify when licensure is required including expansion of medication assisted treatment (MAT) services.

“Updating the rules was an intensive and collaborative process that will ultimately improve patient care and outcomes in Michigan,” said Larry Horvath, director of the Bureau of Community and Health Systems in LARA. “Michigan’s improved rules for substance use disorder facilities enhance provider flexibility in order to best equip licensees to combat our current public health challenges and address individual patient needs.”

The state is using every available tool to combat the opioid epidemic. The collaborative efforts of state agencies amplify Michigan’s efforts related to prevention and treatment of patients, education of health professionals, and enforcement of overprescribers and over dispensers. Efforts include:

  • A new one-stop shop website (Michigan.gov/opioids) containing helpful information and resources on the epidemic.
  • Providing online resources for patients, health professionals, and communities about prevention and treatment of opioid abuse.
  • Ensuring the life-saving overdose reversal drug, Naloxone, is available to residents statewide through a standing order.
  • The Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS), which provides real-time prescription data and resources to better assess a patient’s risk for substance use disorder.
  • Assistance with proper drug disposal of unwanted medications.
  • Michigan State Police posts serving as drug take-back sites and providing the Angel Program for individuals struggling with addiction.

For more information about opioids and the additional steps residents can take to protect themselves and loved ones, visit Michigan.gov/opioids.