Iowa Removes Barriers to Evidence-Based Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder

Gov. Reynolds signs a life-saving bill into law

National and state physicians are congratulating the Iowa Legislature and Gov. Reynolds for their roles in passing a law that will result in more state residents receiving treatment for opioid use disorder.

The new law will remove common barriers that keep patients from accessing the gold standard for treating opioid use disorder. That treatment, known as medication assisted treatment (MAT), relies on medication prescribed by a physician. Yet, patients have difficulty securing this treatment partly because insurance providers set up obstacles, such as requiring physicians to get approval before providing treatment. This is known as prior authorization.

Gov. Reynolds signed the bill which removes prior authorization under Medicaid fee-for-service and managed care administration for at least one form of MAT: methadone, buprenorphine, naloxone, buprenorphine-naloxone combination products and naltrexone.

“We commend Gov. Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature for their leadership to support patients’ access to evidence-based care for patients with an opioid use disorder,” said AMA President-Elect Patrice A. Harris, M.D. who chairs the AMA Opioid Task Force. “This bill can serve as a model for all states looking for evidence-based policy that will improve patient outcomes.”

“The Iowa Medical Society (IMS) worked hard to get this bill enacted because medical evidence clearly demonstrates how MAT improves recovery, reduces health care costs and most important—saves lives,” said IMS President Marygrace Elson, M.D. “No patient should have to face a delay or denial of evidence-based care for opioid use disorder—this bill helps remove those barriers to our most vulnerable patients.”

Iowa joins a growing number of states this year that have increased access to MAT. Other states include Arkansas, Colorado, New York, Virginia as well as the District of Columbia. Bills are pending in other states, including Louisiana and Vermont.

Contact for more information:

Jack Deutsch
AMA Media Relations
(202) 789-7442


Dennis Tibben
Iowa Medical Society
(515) 223-1401


About the American Medical Association:
The American Medical Association is the premier national organization providing timely, essential resources to empower physicians, residents and medical students to succeed at every phase of their medical lives. Physicians have entrusted the IowaAMA to advance the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health on behalf of patients for more than 170 years. For more information, visit

Iowa Medical Society:
The Iowa Medical Society (IMS) is the statewide professional association for Iowa allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) physicians. Established in 1850, IMS represents more than 6,000 Iowa physicians, residents and medical students. IMS help professionals develop their skills and further their careers by providing access to unique and relevant content and exclusive member services.

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