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What the End of the Public Health Emergency Means for Your ADHD Treatment

*Updated May 2023*

In 2020, the federal government declared a public health emergency (PHE) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This emergency allowed for certain, temporary waivers to take effect, including the ability to prescribe controlled medications like Ritalin, Concerta, and Adderall to ADHD patients via telemedicine.

For adults with ADHD who rely on controlled medications to manage their symptoms, this was a welcomed change that allowed for convenient care at home and expanded access to care that was previously unavailable or unattainable to many. 

Circle Medical will continue to provide our patients with safe, effective, and evidence-based care via telemedicine. However, as the PHE has ended, it is important to be aware of some upcoming changes that may affect how medically-necessary controlled substances will be prescribed moving forward.

Prescription medications, including ADHD medications, are only prescribed if deemed appropriate by licensed medical providers following a comprehensive clinical assessment and as part of a detailed care plan.

What is a controlled substance? 

A controlled substance is a medication or drug whose use, manufacture and possession is regulated by the government due to the possibility of misuse. Many ADHD medications are stimulants and are categorized as controlled substances. 

Do I have to see my provider in person?

The COVID-19 public health emergency ended on May 11th, 2023. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has extended prescribing flexibilities for patients that already have a relationship a telemedicine provider until November 11th 2024. This means that if you had a prescription for a controlled substance before May 11th, you can continue to get refills over video until November 11th, 2024.

If you are a new patient and began seeing your provider over video after May 11th, 2023, you will need to be seen once in-person before November 11th 2023 to continue receiving prescriptions for controlled substances.

While the requirement for in-person visits may be an inconvenience for some patients, it is important to remember that these regulations are intended to ensure safe and appropriate use of controlled medications. 

Can I see my provider in person now even if the deadline is months away?

Yes. To minimize any disruption in your care, we recommend scheduling an in-person appointment as soon as possible. This will help you avoid any unnecessary delays or difficulties obtaining your medication. Further, having an in-person appointment can help getting your prescription filled as some pharmacies may not yet be aware of the DEA extension.

If you are an existing patient, you will have received communications about seeing a Circle Medical provider in-person. If not, speak to your provider about it at your next appointment.

How often will I need to see my provider in person? 

Regulations require that patients be examined in person at least once by their provider to be eligible to continue treatment over video. Please note that everyone’s care is unique and your provider may request to see you in person more frequently if it is deemed medically necessary. 

How can I book an in-person appointment? 

We want to make the process of scheduling an in-person appointment as convenient as possible for you. When your provider begins seeing patients in person, we will send you a message via text and email inviting you to book your appointment. We will also send periodic reminders to ensure that you have ample opportunity to schedule an appointment.

You can also schedule an appointment directly with your provider during a video visit. This will allow you to discuss any concerns or questions you may have before scheduling your in-person visit.

Does my Circle Medical provider have a clinic near me?

Providers are available for in-person appointments in our locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City, as well as numerous other locations across the country where our services are offered. We are constantly working to expand our in-person locations so that more patients have access to in-person appointments with our providers.

Does this impact me if I am not being treated with controlled medication? 

No, these changes only affect those being prescribed a clinically-appropriate controlled medication via telemedicine. In-person appointments and prescriptions for non-controlled medications are not impacted.

What is the Ryan Haight Act? 

The Ryan Haight Act is a federal law that was established in 2008 following the unfortunate death of an 18-year-old who had obtained pain medication from a rogue online pharmacy. The main objective of the act is to prevent unethical and reckless online pharmacies from engaging in similar practices. While well-meaning, the act has not been modernized to account for the advancements made in legitimate and clinically-responsible telemedicine that have emerged during the pandemic.

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