Meet Opioid Training Mandates With CME From TMA
By Hannah Wisterman

Through the Texas Medical Association, physicians can play a part in curbing rates of opioid overdose and substance use disorder – and meet state and federal agencies’ CME mandates.  

How much education physicians must complete and on which specific topics varies by licensing agency.  

Of the 24 hours of formal CME required every two years for licensure renewal, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) requires that two hours involve the study of the following topics, which may be credited towards the requirements for medical ethics or professional responsibility for any physician. 

  • Best practices, alternative treatment options, and multimodal approaches to pain management that may include physical therapy, psychotherapy, and other treatments; 
  • Safe and effective pain management related to the prescription of opioids and other controlled substances, including education regarding standards of care; identification of drug-seeking behavior in patients; and effectively communicating with patients about the prescription of an opioid or other controlled substances; and  
  • Prescribing and monitoring of controlled substances.    

All three objectives must be covered by the two hours of training.   

Further, as of summer 2023, physicians who register or renew their registration for a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) license have a one-time requirement to attest to taking eight hours of training on how to treat patients with opioid or other substance use disorders (SUDs).   

That requirement came under the Medication Access and Training Expansion Act, which Congress passed as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. Under the law, physicians and other health care professionals who prescribe Schedule II, III, IV, and V medications will be required to check a box on their online DEA registration form to show that they have done the training.  

DEA registrants, therefore, need one of the following upon submission of their application: 

  • Eight hours of training on opioid or other substance use disorders.  
  • Board certification in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry from the American Board of Medical Specialties, American Board of Addiction Medicine, or the American Osteopathic Association.  
  • Graduation within five years from a U.S. medical school that included successful completion of an opioid or other substance use disorder curriculum of at least eight hours.   

Michael Sprintz, DO, a pain and addiction specialist in Spring and member of TMA’s Committee on Behavioral Health, is in support of fostering “a core competency [in opioid stewardship] and really starting to integrate that more and more within board recertifications, with CME requirements, and the TMB's requirements.”   

Dr. Sprintz has contributed to several of TMA’s CME courses that qualify for the TMB and DEA mandates, including presenting one, “Shades of Grey,” at Leadership Summit in January. In-person seminars and classes, such as those presented at TMA events, can count toward the DEA mandate, as well as professional society meetings and online forms. 

Physicians can fully meet the TMB and DEA requirements with CME offerings from the TMA Education Center, free to members courtesy of TMA Insurance Trust.  

Upon visiting the Education Center, physicians can navigate to the Mandated Trainings subject area. Under the “Credits” section of the sidebar, select the “DEA SUD” and “Opioid” checkboxes to surface all courses that qualify for part or all of the state or national mandates. Details on the qualifications of each course can be found in their descriptions.  

Several TMA courses count toward individual TMB-mandated topics, and one covers all three with the requisite two hours: “Meeting TMB Education Requirements for Opioid Prescribing.”  

Neither the TMB nor DEA mandate must be met by a single course, so physicians can piece together credits from multiple sources. This is especially beneficial as some of TMA’s courses provide credit for both.  

But note that taking a given CME course does not guarantee a physician has fully met the federal and state-mandated training requirements. Physicians are solely responsible for ensuring any mandated training requirements are completed. 

Last Updated On

February 21, 2024

Originally Published On

February 21, 2024

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Hannah Wisterman


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Hannah Wisterman is an associate editor for Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. She was born and raised in Houston and holds a journalism degree from Texas State University in San Marcos. She's spent most of her career in health journalism, especially in the areas of reproductive and public health. When she's not reporting, editing, or learning, you can find her exploring Austin or spending time with her partner, cat, and houseplants.

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