However, the Biden Administration has plans to end the COVID-19 public health emergency in May 2023. As a result, patients may not be able to utilize telehealth services in the same way. For those with ADHD, that means that a hybrid care option that combines online and in-person treatment may be needed.
Learn more about hybrid ADHD care, including why online access to healthcare is still so important and how to make it work for you.
Changes to ADHD Telehealth Access
A public health emergency (PHE) was originally instated in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the PHE was in effect, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) suspended a part of the Ryan Haight Act which required in-person treatment for certain medical evaluations and prescriptions. This allowed patients to seek ADHD diagnosis and treatment from the safety of their homes.
The expiration of the PHE means that patients will once again be required to get an in-person medical evaluation before they can be prescribed controlled substances. Many stimulants prescribed for ADHD fall into this category, including Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta.
Why Online ADHD Treatment Is So Important
Online treatment for ADHD has grown exponentially in recent years. And while attending online appointments is certainly much easier than traveling across town to see a clinician in person, convenience is just one of many factors that make online care so vital for ADHD.
Telehealth has transformed the way that people receive care, especially for underserved populations and those who face real barriers to treatment. Right now, there are a number of obstacles that limit access to in-person appointments. One of the most important is that there is an increased demand for assessment, yet there are not enough specialists available to keep up with that demand, creating longer wait times just to get in for an appointment. Unfortunately, a delay in assessment can have serious consequences, like an increased risk of self-harm or accidents.
Practical barriers can also play a role in how long it takes someone to get the ADHD care they need. Some people live in rural areas without any specialists with relevant expertise nearby, and the travel time to get to an appointment would be significant. Others have work or childcare demands which make it very difficult to find the time to fit an in-person appointment into their schedule.
Online treatment through a telehealth service like Done helps to remove these barriers to access. Our clinicians, for example, can usually see someone for a virtual appointment within a matter of days, not weeks or months. Virtual appointments remove added time needed for travel to and from a clinician's office and allow most people to bypass the costs and inconvenience of taking time off work or finding temporary childcare. The accessibility and ease of online ADHD treatment allows people to get the care they need faster.
Is In-Person Treatment Necessary for ADHD?
Online ADHD care is a game changer for many patients, but it doesn’t make in-person appointments irrelevant. In-person treatment can be useful or even necessary in certain cases, and it's important to consider whether online treatment is the right fit for you or your child.
For example, there are some people with ADHD who have difficulty staying focused during virtual appointments or struggle to connect and communicate with a clinician via video sessions. In other cases, someone might need an in-person appointment because they lack the right devices, tech accessories or internet access required to make video calls, or because their insurance doesn't cover telehealth services.
Furthermore, a clinician may be unable to determine a diagnosis through a virtual appointment. While some diagnoses are simple enough to be made through virtual interactions, others are more complex and may require additional testing or ADHD assessments to determine. For these situations, a telehealth clinician may recommend an in-person appointment in order to ensure that an accurate diagnosis is made. And with the end of the PHE, there’s a chance that these in-person evaluations will once again be required for all ADHD patients.
What Hybrid ADHD Care Looks Like
Telehealth services have revolutionized ADHD care, but in-person treatment may still be necessary for some patients. However, ADHD treatment doesn't have to be all online or all virtual. Hybrid care combines both online and in-person treatment to provide a helpful solution that benefits the patient without sacrificing any quality for the care they receive.
With hybrid care, you might be referred for an in-person appointment for an initial assessment. After receiving a diagnosis, however, you could get a prescription for ADHD medication online and consult with a clinician virtually for any questions that come up. In addition, you could choose to attend virtual sessions for ADHD therapy or speak with an ADHD coach.
If you're unsure about whether online, in-person or hybrid ADHD care is the right fit for you, don't hesitate to reach out to us at Done. Our initial appointments offer you an opportunity to discuss your options with a licensed clinician in a comfortable and convenient setting.