Credentialing Services

AMA Physicians Profiles offer more DEA data elements

DEA Enhancements

The US Drug Enforcement Administration section of AMA Initial and Reappointment Profiles now includes additional data regarding Business Activity, Activity, and Payment Indicator. These new data elements (see sample image above) began appearing on profiles on March 31.

Those organizations that formerly held an NTIS subscription may be familiar with the new data. For those who are not, here’s a quick explanation. 

  • Business Activity distinguishes registrants under set categories and then further defines them by subcategories. Physicians—as well as dentists and veterinarians—fall in category C. Subcategories associated with category C further indicate whether a physician (or other practitioner) has a connection to the military or Department of Defense. Even more important, the subcategories also identify those physicians who hold a DEA DATA waiver. For example, Business Activity code-subcode combination C-4 indicates a practitioner who holds a DEA DATA waiver to treat 100 patients. A quick reference link to a list of code-subcode combinations and their definitions will be provided on the AMA Profile. 
  • Activity indicates whether a registrant is authorized to handle the controlled substances listed in the Drug Schedule. It is possible that a record may show an expired date yet still possess an Active status. The DEA notes that this occurs when the registration is under an administrative hold.
  • Payment Indicator will display a paid status when the physician has paid the application fee to obtain a DEA registration certificate. An exempt status is displayed for physicians who are officials of a federal or state agency or of a political subdivision or agency and, therefore, exempt from the application fee. If a physician with an exempt status enters into private practice, s/he must pay for a new DEA registration.

All Federal DEA registration data provided in an AMA Physician Profile is sourced directly from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The AMA refreshes data twice a month. 

If you’re looking for a source to validate DEA information, AMA Physician Profiles meet the standards set by NCQA, CMS for the managed care setting, AAAHC, HFAP, and DNV and exceed those set by the Joint Commission and CMS for the hospital setting.

Reporting discrepancies against the DEA section of an AMA Profile. Should you order a physician profile and find a discrepancy with the DEA data as it appears on the profile, you are encouraged to file a discrepancy report through AMA Profiles Hub. Our Data Stewards Team will investigate the matter to ensure the latest data received by DEA is matched appropriately to the physician’s record and reported on the profile. Because this data is sourced from the DEA, AMA is not allowed to make a direct change to the data. If the investigation is closed with no changes made to the profile and you believe the data is at issue, you are encouraged to contact the DEA directly to request a correction.

Note to subscription customers ordering AMA Profiles through an integrated credentialing software. All credentialing software vendors who integrate AMA Profiles into their platform have been provided the tools needed to make updates on their end. At this time, it is anticipated that their integration of the new data will be completed in June. 

What's a DEA Data waiver? 

Physicians and other clinicians approved by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment to conduct office-based opioid treatment using buprenorphine are assigned a DEA DATA waiver, also known as an X-waiver and buprenorphine-waiver. The DEA assigns a unique identification number (UIN) to these DATA-waived clinicians. Within the industry, this UIN is sometimes referred to as an X-number due to the first character of the UIN being the letter X. After this first character, all other characters in the UIN match the clinician’s DEA registration number. For example, a DATA-waived physician with a DEA registration number of FB0123454 would also have a UIN of XB0123454.

On Jan. 14, it was reported that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would implement policy to remove the waiver requirement so more physicians could treat patients with opioid use disorder. However, by Jan. 25, HHS pulled back on its announcement and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration posted a related statement. Two days later, a letter was delivered to HHS Acting Secretary Norris Cochran requesting HHS “take steps to eliminate federal policies that inhibit access to vital treatment.” AMA and 15 other physician organizations signed the letter.

Until such barriers are removed, AMA Profiles customers should find the addition of the Business Activity information helpful in identifying physicians who can treat with buprenorphine.

More licensure data also available

More data related to medical licensure has also rolled out with the DEA additions. A license record now displays the physician’s name when and as reported by the medical board. Some customers have relayed to AMA that they use the name as reported by the boards when verifying physician names.