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Bicycle Health—OUD News and Insights (Dec. 2023)

By | December 14, 2023 | ,

Wellpath Collaboration Reduces Recidivism

Bicycle Health has long offered treatment to people in the criminal justice system in the form of virtual treatment as an alternative to incarceration, or as a condition of probation. We’re now able to offer access to injectable buprenorphine (Sublocade) to patients transitioning from federal prison to Federal Residential Reentry Centers through our collaboration with Wellpath, the leading provider of compassionate care to vulnerable patients in challenging clinical environments. In February 2023, Wellpath entered into an affiliation agreement with Bicycle Health to offer virtual Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) treatment to Wellpath patients.

"Our collaboration with Bicycle Health allows us to offer telemedicine-first treatment options, which have become the gold standard for OUD treatment and exceed community care standards. This is especially crucial for our patients during their vulnerable period," says Dr. Thomas Pangburn, Chief Clinical Officer at Wellpath. "Our goal is to keep these patients alive and out of prison, knowing that recidivism rates decrease by nearly 25 percent when incarcerated individuals have access to MOUD treatment."


On average, 20 percent of adults in custody suffer from OUD, and opioid-related overdose is the leading cause of death among patients reentering society from prison. Medications for opioid use disorder via telehealth (teleMOUDs) have been proven to reduce opioid use, lower overdose rates, decrease healthcare costs, and save lives.

For more information on the agreement, check out the press release here.

SUPPORT Act Reauthorization

BH_blog_Support-ActOver 300 substance-abuse prevention and treatment, mental health and policy organizations are calling on Congress to reauthorize & expand the SUPPORT Act to help stop the overdose crisis.

“Thousands of Americans are dying each month from opioid and drug overdoses. The HELP committee needs to hold a markup to reauthorize the SUPPORT Act so we can evaluate, improve and fund these life-saving programs. Missing these deadlines puts vital resources in jeopardy,” said Senator Bill Cassidy. “I appreciate the support from the advocates expressing the urgency of this problem. Even if there are some differences in opinion on specific policies to include, we all agree the HELP Committee needs to get the SUPPORT Act reauthorization done.”

Poppy Seed Tea Research

While poppy seeds might be harmless on your morning bagel, intentional consumption of large quantities can lead to opioid addiction. In this new case series, we describe our experience at Bicycle Health treating patients with poppy seed tea (PST) dependence. We found that It is possible to treat PST use disorder via telehealth with Buprenorphine, at doses similar to other opioid use disorders. Check out the study here.

How Telehealth Reduces Costs of OUD Treatment

Bicycle Health is the leading telehealth provider of integrated medical and behavioral healthcare for OUD treatment. We’re proud to say that our program maintains high retention rates, with 80 percent of insured patients remaining in recovery beyond 90 days and 70 percent remaining beyond 12 months.

“We estimate that we’ve prevented approximately 400 overdoses and reduced OUD symptoms in over 10,000 patients ... a reduction in healthcare costs of over $1.5 billion.” says Bicycle Health’s founder and CEO, Ankit Gupta.


Head here to learn more about how telehealth significantly reduces costs of OUD treatment.

Health Equity in Treating OUD

BH_blog_MedCity-podcastThese numbers are astounding: "Between 1999 and 2021, nearly 645,000 people died of an opioid overdose. That’s in 22 years.

Since the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783, the cumulative deaths from all American wars is nearly 647,000. That’s in 240 years."

Treatments are of course now, thankfully, available but not everyone is able to get them easily. Tune in to the MedCity News podcast to hear Dr. Brian Clear speak on how opioid addiction treatment can be made easily accessible for people of color and with lower incomes.

In the News

  • Nearly 49 million people in the US ages 12 and older – more than 1 in 6 – had a substance use disorder in 2022, according to survey data released Monday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    Of those, about 30 million people had an alcohol use disorder, and 27 million had a drug use disorder, including about 6 million with an opioid use disorder. About 8 million people had both alcohol and drug use disorders, the survey found. Substance use disorders were considered severe for more than 1 in 5 people.

    Dig into the data (CNN)

  • More than 4% of children in the United States live in a household with a parent who misuses opioids, according to estimates from the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Many of those children feel confused and anxious about what their parents are going through. Now Sesame Workshop, the educational nonprofit behind one of the world's most famous children's shows, is trying to give young kids a better understanding of addiction in families. The intention is to build their emotional resilience in a way that can help them in the moment, and later in life.

Read the full article (NPR)

New Insurance Partners

In addition to working with providers like Anthem, United HealthCare, Cigna, Medicare and BlueCross BlueShield Bicycle Health adds new insurance partners every month.

This month, we're pleased to announce that we are now LIVE and can service all Medicare part B beneficiaries nationwide.

Medicare is federally administered to provide health and financial security to 60 million people age 65 and over as well as younger people with disabilities across the entire U.S.

Previous Updates:

Bicycle Health and OUD Insights and News (Nov. 2023)

Bicycle Health Effective Treatment white paper thumbnail and blog call to action to download