Bicycle Health Doctors Fly to Alabama for a Second Year to Ensure Opioid Treatment Continuity for Patients

A lack of in-state treatment options, combined with the state’s in-person requirement, forces extreme measures from virtual OUD treatment providers to protect patient access to care

Boston Massachusetts, UNITED STATES


BOSTON, July 25, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bicycle Health, the nation’s largest provider of virtual opioid addiction treatment, today announced the successful completion of its second “Alabama Airdrop.” To protect patients in recovery who otherwise faced losing access to treatment, the initiative brought clinical staff with Alabama state licenses into the state to conduct mandatory in-person patient evaluations with 160 patients, ensuring their recovery could continue with Bicycle Health for up to one more year.

In 2022, the Alabama legislature passed Act No. 2022-302, which prohibited clinicians from writing prescriptions for controlled substances and other medications via telemedicine without an in-person visit. This decision left over 500 Bicycle Health patients who were utilizing medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) – such as buprenorphine – scrambling to find in-person care options or otherwise face abandoning the treatment plan they had built via Bicycle Health. To provide its patients with a short-term solution, the company flew clinical staff to Birmingham to conduct in-person sessions with nearly 300 patients over 6 days – a move that allowed patients to continue accessing their buprenorphine prescriptions via telehealth until July 2023.

This year, Bicycle Health returned once again to Alabama to renew access for 162 established patients who were still unable to find a local Alabama provider. Bicycle Health’s team successfully completed in-person evaluations with 98.8% of these patients over the course of 3 days.

“We’re heartbroken that two of our patients could not make it to their in-person visit, and we hope they were able to find an alternative source of treatment. Consistency in treatment is critical for the success and safety of patients who are prescribed medications for OUD like buprenorphine,” said Dr. Brian Clear, Bicycle Health’s Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Clear continued, “There is no medical evidence to support Alabama’s in-person visit requirement for patients with OUD; it increases costs with no offsetting benefit, and it limits access disproportionately for those who lack financial security and transportation. As the DEA continues to tease a proposed federal in-person requirement for MOUD treatment, we hope policymakers consider the lack of access patients face in Alabama and oppose regulations that would restrict access to evidence-based treatment on a national scale.”

Adherence to MOUDs, including buprenorphine, has been shown to reduce ER visits, non-fatal drug overdoses, and healthcare costs while reducing the rate of diversion – providing a life-changing option for the nearly 2.1 million Americans struggling with OUD. Bicycle Health’s care platform features an at-home urine drug testing system, Buprenorphine Induction Tool, and Pharmacy Finder Tool which further helps prevent buprenorphine diversion while ensuring high-quality, flexible virtual care options.

But despite widely being considered a gold standard of care for OUD, access to buprenorphine and other MOUDs has remained a challenge for patients and their providers. In-person requirements for the prescription of MOUD enacted by state policymakers and proposed by federal regulators often ignores the stigmatization and access challenges many patients with OUD face already.

“Since our founding, we’ve been on a mission to improve access to proven, high-quality OUD treatment for patients across the US,” said Ankit Gupta, founder and CEO of Bicycle Health. “I’m proud to work with one of the nation’s leading addiction medicine teams, which has consistently done whatever it takes to ensure Bicycle Health patients have access to the care they need, when and where they need it. We will continue to fight on behalf of those same patients to break down the dangerous stigmas that limit the access to life-saving treatment options in Alabama and beyond.”

With a mission to address America’s most severe public health crisis, Bicycle Health remains committed to ensuring OUD patients across this country can safely and conveniently access the medications and treatment they need to maintain a healthy recovery.

To learn more about Bicycle Health, please visit www.bicyclehealth.com.

About Bicycle Health
Bicycle Health is the leading telehealth provider of medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) in the United States, offering an evidence-based clinical care model that includes FDA-approved Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT), access to a highly-trained team of medical experts, therapy, a customized treatment plan, and peer support groups. Bicycle Health’s mission is to address the country’s most severe public health crisis by providing access to affordable, convenient, and confidential tele-MOUD treatment for individuals in need and helping to reduce stigmas associated with opioid addiction. For more information, visit www.bicyclehealth.com.

Contact
LaunchSquad for Bicycle Health
bicyclehealth@launchsquad.com