Understanding Telehealth Suboxone Treatment
Telehealth Suboxone Treatment is like most other versions of telehealth or telemedicine treatment that are available. This means that all or the majority of your Suboxone Treatment is completed via a digital means and done remotely for both the patient and the medical staff and/or provider. The benefits of Telehealth Suboxone Treatment are very similar to the benefits of any telehealth of telemedicine treatment. Many of the benefits that have been seen with the recent expansion of available Suboxone Telehealth and Telemedicine are based around accessibility. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) previously called Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) was an in-person treatment without many or any telehealth or telemedicine options.
Thanks to the expansion of telehealth many individuals that did not have the ability to participate in addiction recovery now can have such lifesaving treatment. Opioid Use Disorder is a problem across the entire country but is more heavily seen in rural areas and those of the Appalachian Mountains of the Eastern part of the Unites States such as the states of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. As with any remote or rural area there are less services available due to the low density of population and/or lack of community funding. This made treatment for many individuals impossible to attend due to the distance that would have to be traveled to make it to an in-person treatment facility. Even for people that have treatment facilities closer to them there could be other barriers that cause problems with the person doing in-person treatment. If a person’s work schedule does not allow for the required time, that could be a cause for lapse in treatment or complete cessation. Telehealth Suboxone can greatly assist if they are completed correctly, allowing for more time efficient appointments and in a timely manner. As well as they do not require any travel unless the person has to travel to have internet service and video-conferencing capabilities.
As of the time of this blog (October 2023), Telehealth Suboxone is completely legal. The Ryan Haight Act of 2008 was suspended with the COVID-19 emergency protocols that were put in place during the pandemic which started in early 2020. The Ryan Haight Act required in-person examinations of patients which made a fully telehealth or telemedicine model for the treatment of Opioid Use Disorder impossible. In May of 2023 the remaining COVI-19 emergency protocols were removed due to the end of the pandemic. It was of paramount concern to many MOUD (previously MAT) treatment facilities as to the ability to continue to serve those suffering from addiction but without the ability to attend in-person treatment due to their barriers. Due to the proven assistance that the fully remote Telehealth Suboxone clinics were at reaching individuals and begin effective it was allowed to continue by the DEA. There is still not an official ruling on what all permanent laws are going to be in place for Telehealth Suboxone, but as of current (October 2023) Telehealth Suboxone has been approved to continue until November 11, 2024. And in the proposed changes to come out will allow Telehealth Suboxone to continue with some minor changes, maybe requiring only one initial in-person appointment, but much can change in a year’s time.
Factors to Consider in Choosing a Telehealth Suboxone Provider
There are many factors which should be considered when looking for a Telehealth Suboxone medical provider. First, you should consider the experience and qualifications of the treatment facility and/or providers you are looking at. You should ask about the qualifications of the staff and/or medical providers that you will be interacting with during your treatment. Ideally you will want to work with staff that have ample experience working in the area of substance abuse. It is always wise to research your medical provider to make sure they do not have any current and/or pending actions against their medical license and have experience that you personally believe is relevant to you having successful treatment. As for the facility yourself you may want to research them and their administration as well, such as how new they are and how created it. For example one newer and large company was created by a tech millionaire with no history in substance abuse. This facility was created to make money and fast track patient through, using changes in laws during COVID. As they may be a good facility, information like that may show a treatment facility’s main purpose, which should be to help individuals in need, not generate revenue.
Due to the change in allowing Telehealth Suboxone or the overall expansion of telehealth and telemedicine across all medical fields, has changed the industry. Many large companies have been created which are offering cheaper rates, more hours, and appearing more convenient than the smaller clinics. As some of these facilities may employee experienced individuals, the company itself has little experience and will be more focused on revenue and payment than on your success in recovery and successful completion of treatment. In regard to convenience, many may state that they have this, but then for appointments you will call in and get placed on hold for hours while waiting to see any medical provider, often never seeing the same physician more than once. As this is not ideal, it is still important that you select a Telehealth Suboxone provider that does have availability during a time that works with your schedule so that you do not have any gaps in your treatment, which can cause a relapse. It is important to remember that often convenience does not equal quality.
If you have health insurance, you will usually want to find a Telehealth Suboxone treatment facility that is able to accept your health insurance. In using health insurance, it is important that you understand what your coverage is before reaching out to any Telehealth Suboxone provider. You may have out of pocket deductibles that must be met first or have co-pays, all of which you will have to be able to afford for treatment. It is common that many Telehealth Suboxone providers will not accept insurance, have a limit for the number of insurance patients they can have at a time, or will accept limited amounts of insurance companies. There are also times in which a Telehealth Suboxone provider may desire to be in network with an insurance company, but that insurance company is not accepting to credential new medical providers, or they make stipulations that the provider cannot adhere to.
One of the most important factors to consider is the compassion and support of the Telehealth Suboxone treatment facility you are choosing offers. Having individuals at all levels of your treatment offer you compassion and support, will be the most helpful in you having a successful addiction treatment and recovery. At Milestones Wellness Centers, it is compassion and support that the premise of all treatment is built on. With many large national organizations, you are just one of the many and a number to all people involved. As they may appear compassionate in nature, which may be true, they are not involved with you on a regular basis and are there to perform their job and ensure revenue continues.
Choosing the Right Telehealth Suboxone Provider
It is highly important that you choose the right Telehealth Suboxone provider. This is of the highest importance because without one that meets your needs and desires, you have a greatly decreased chance for successful completion of your addiction treatment. And the main purpose of Telehealth Suboxone is to assist a person in successful recovery from Opioid Use Disorder. First, you should look for a treatment facility that meets your personal preferences and needs. If their only available times are early in the morning on Eastern Standard Time, but you are an afternoon person based in the West Coast, this would not be a good fit. If work is a concern, you may want to find a Telehealth Suboxone facility that is very timely with appointments so you can complete them during a break or one that is open when you are not working. Another very important thing to discuss is the ability to taper off Suboxone. Sadly, many facilities only desire to keep you on Suboxone as getting you completely substance free does not drive their revenue. A facility with good morals in Opioid Use Disorder and treatment, will be there to assist you in tapering off Suboxone when it is appropriate and safe for you to do this.
Having a Telehealth Suboxone treatment facility that is accessible and has current technology is very important. All facilities that are running remotely should have a patient portal in which you complete all required documentation such as medical history and consent forms. In this portal you should also be able to see any upcoming appointments and have access to some of your basic records. Also, you should be able to reach an actual person that can assist you in answering basic questions quickly when reaching out to them during their business hours. If you spend ample time on hold, being shuffled around to various individuals without any clear answers or guidance, then that facility may not be particularly accessible. With technology and the use of video conferencing platforms needed to conduct telehealth and telemedicine, it is important that the facility utilizes a specialized HIPAA compliant version of all technologies.
Cost and insurance coverage are important. As you should not only focus on this aspect and choose a facility that meets your other needs and is set up to make sure you are successful in the completion of your treatment. If you are not able to afford your treatment or it causes great financial strain both could lead to gaps in treatment which often are a cause of relapses, which can be fatal. Many Telehealth Suboxone providers are within a similar price range of each other for those that do not have insurance coverage. In regard to insurance coverage the costs set forth by your copays or deductibles often will be the same at each Telehealth Suboxone facility. The only difference here is if that facility is in network with your insurance and if it is accepted there to cover your treatment. When finalizing your decision and starting treatment, do understand that you can always change to another Telehealth Suboxone provider as your treatment is your chose.