The following article is part of The Clinical Advisor’s conference coverage from the 2017 American Academy of Physician Assistants’ meeting in Las Vegas. Our staff will be reporting live on original research, case studies, and professional outreach and advocacy news from leading PAs in many specialty areas. Check back for the latest news from AAPA 2017. 

LAS VEGAS — Patients with opiate addiction are comfortable with physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) initiating and maintaining their opiate replacement therapy (ORT), according to data presented at the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) 2017 conference.

Bethany Dunn, PA-C, DC, Chair of the D’Youville College Physician Assistant Department, and colleagues conducted their study using a 13-question survey that was distributed at 3 ORT clinics in western New York. The survey (n=128) inquired about information regarding the participants’ ORT, including efficacy, length of time, and the wait time to begin ORT. The survey also asked participants about their comfort with a PA or NP managing their ORT.

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The results of the study show that 45.76% of the participants were very confident in the ability of a PA or an NP to provide ORT, and 95.16% were confident in the ability of a PA or an NP to provide the therapy. The results also showed that 96.03% of participants would see a PA or an NP for their initial visit.

In addition, most participants had either no difficulty (37.01%) or only some difficulty (29.13%) being accepted into an ORT program.

“Allowing mid-level providers to prescribe ORT may help with the increasing number of opioid addicts in need of timely treatment,” the investigators concluded. “The results of this study revealed that the confidence level of ORT patients toward mid-level providers is strong. From a patient outlook, these results support mid-level providers undertaking a larger role in ORT.”

Limitations of the study include the small sample size and low demographic diversity. The investigators note that future research is required due to the expanding role of PAs and NPs in addiction medicine.

AAPA 2017 continues through Friday, May 19th. Visit for more information.


  1. Goode JP, Goode WT, Saeger MP, Andreeff R, Dunn B. Patient perspective of opiate replacement therapy with midlevel providers. Presented at the American Academy of Physician Assistants 2017 conference; May 15-19, 2017; Las Vegas.