BOSTON, July 15, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —
- This week, with support from community partners at Aletheia House, Bicycle Health flew clinical staff to Alabama to host hundreds of in-person meetings with patients.
- Bicycle Health’s “Alabama Airdrop” is a stop-gap effort to protect patients in recovery from losing their access to OUD treatment and medication, while the company works out a longer-term patient transition plan with partners at Aletheia House.
- Since the passage of Act No. 2022-302 in the state of Alabama, Bicycle Health has worked with state-level partners to transition hundreds of patients to in-person care.
- Despite best efforts, with less than a month to go before the Act’s July 11 deadline, over 80% of Bicycle Health’s patients had not found an alternative provider that could treat them in-person.
- These in-person meetings will enable Alabama patients to continue their Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) in Alabama for up to twelve additional months through Bicycle Health.
Bicycle Health, the leading provider of virtual opioid addiction treatment, today announced it will partner with Aletheia House, an Alabama-based non-profit, to create a long-term plan to transition patients to in-person care as mandated by Alabama state Act No. 2022-302. To protect patients in recovery who would otherwise lose access to treatment, Bicycle Health also initiated an “Alabama Airdrop,” by flying clinical staff with Alabama state licenses into the state to meet patients in-person so that their recovery could continue with Bicycle Health for up to one more year.
In April, the Alabama legislature passed Act No. 2022-302, which prohibits clinicians from writing prescriptions for controlled substances and other medications via telemedicine without an in-person visit. Since that time, Bicycle Health has worked with in-state organizations to help patients transition to in-person care.
According to the Alabama Department of Mental Health, opioid overdoses increased more than 20% in Alabama in 2020, resulting in the state being one of 25 with the highest increase during the time period – reflecting a dire need for treatment options. In line with this data, as of a week before the July 11 deadline, less than 20% of Bicycle Health’s patients had managed to find another doctor to continue their treatment inside the state. Feedback from patients shows that location constraints, work commitments, and fear of recognition have contributed to this struggle.
Through encouragement from leadership at Aletheia House to develop a creative solution to the problem, Bicycle Health made the decision to fly members of its medical staff, including two physicians, to Alabama to host hundreds of in-person meetings with patients.
“In spite of our best efforts, we’ve been unable to help hundreds of patients in recovery find an in-person treatment option in Alabama,” said Brian Clear, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Bicycle Health. “While working with patients to transition their care, several told us they were considering moving to another state if they were unable to find a local doctor to continue their treatment. This drove home the sad reality that many of our patients had no other options and that we had to find a way to continue to treat them ourselves, while complying with the new law.”
Clear continued, “We’re proud of the people on our staff who volunteered to drop everything and fly to Alabama to care for patients. We’re also grateful to our partners at Aletheia House for their encouragement to find a creative way to keep these patients from losing access to treatment while we work on a long-term solution.”
“As a longtime provider of substance abuse treatment in Alabama, we see the firsthand impacts of opioid addiction and the challenges that access to treatment creates for patients in recovery,” said Gloria Howard, Chief Operating Officer at Aletheia House. “Bicycle Health’s Alabama Airdrop will prevent the discontinuation of care for hundreds of patients and continue to support their journey toward recovery – an honorable mission that is good for patients and for the state of Alabama.”
Bicycle Health has stopped adding new patients in the state of Alabama. However, for existing patients, a single in-person visit with a Bicycle Health physician will allow them to continue with their virtual care for another twelve months before they need to find an in-person treatment option. Bicycle Health’s virtual care model combines telehealth visits, medication management, behavioral health support, and regular in-home diagnostic testing.
In a recently published peer-reviewed study, Bicycle Health’s care model yielded exceptional retention rates compared to traditional in-person care – as evidenced by 86% of insured patients still in treatment at 30 days and 75% for a mixed population of insured and self-pay in the same time frame. The company has served more than 17,000 patients across the country to-date and prevented an estimated 355 overdoses in 2021.
About Bicycle Health
Bicycle Health offers confidential evidence-based virtual care for opioid use disorder, from the comfort of your home. We provide access to a highly trained team of medical experts, a customized treatment plan, same-day prescription refills for medication management, and access to peer support groups and therapy. Our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable, convenient, and confidential opioid use order treatment for those in need, with a vision to help anyone with a chronic disease live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
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