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FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Who recognizes addiction medicine as a specialized area of medical practice?

The American Medical Association (AMA), in 1988, granted the American Society of Addiction Medicine a seat, with vote, in the AMA House of Delegates. In 1990, the AMA recognized addiction medicine as a “self-designated specialty,” and has designated a specific code (“ADM”) that physicians can select as their specialty, and that will be listed as such in the AMA Physician Masterfile.

The U.S. Drug Abuse Treatment Act (DATA) signed into law in 2000 (DATA 2000) recognizes certification in addiction medicine as a credential that allows physicians to prescribe “narcotic drugs in Schedule III, IV, or V or combinations of such drugs to patients for maintenance or detoxification treatment.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recognize addiction medicine as eligible for reimbursement. Coding of Specialty Codes

Divisions of addiction services in several state health departments require that medical directors of public treatment programs be ASAM-Certified (the certification process that was the predecessor to ABAM‟s processes of certifying physician specialists in addiction medicine via examination). These states include Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Other states, such as Wisconsin, recognize ABAM and ASAM certification as a measure of physician knowledge and skills to treat patients with addiction and hold clinical leadership positions in state-certified treatment agencies and programs.

Many hospitals and insurance companies recognize addiction medicine and ABAM certification.

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ABAM offers a Transitional Maintenance of Certification program for its current diplomates and a public listing of physicians who hold active ABAM certification status. In March, 2016 the American Board of Medical Specialties formally recognized addiction medicine as a multi-specialty subspecialty. Future certification examinations in addiction medicine will be administered by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.