This week I received an email from a veteran, sharing how the closure of ketamine clinics came as a terrible surprise and that he doesn’t know how he’ll be able to continue his treatments (he was receiving treatment at Ketamine Wellness Centers until they announced the closing of all their operations).
I was a patient at Ketamine Wellness Centers (the Tucson, AZ location) and am devastated that the clinics have closed. The Tucson VA partnered with them to offer us veterans an alternative treatment….and it WORKED. I’m at a loss of what to do as there are no other viable alternative clinics in my area.
Most people don’t realize the mental anguish some of us suffer and KWC closures will only exacerbate the issue.
It’s been a bad few weeks for ketamine therapy patients. First, the Biden administration announced the ending of Covid emergency measures around telemedicine. These more relaxed rules had allowed easier access to telemedicine services, and ketamine prescriptions grew during the pandemic.
…a federal law known as the Ryan Haight Act requires physicians to have an in-person consultation with a patient before prescribing controlled substances. The federal government waived that requirement during the PHE declaration. This allowed entrepreneurial ketamine telehealth clinics and their physicians to enter into patient relationships without in-person consults
Then we had this recent run of clinic closings, with both KWC and Field Trip Health announcing closings. But behind the headlines and falling stock prices, we are now hearing how these changes are affecting patients. These personal stories of mental health are the reason the entire industry is here in the first place – yet it’s something we tend to overlook.
Yesterday, NBC News covered how these clinic closings were affecting patients, especially veterans. It’s a heartbreaking look at both the callousness of some for-profit healthcare providers, and the real-life benefits psychedelics can provide.
“I cried for days,” said Travis Zubick, a U.S. Navy veteran, who was a patient at the company’s Minnesota location. “They packed up and left town, and that’s over.” (NBC News)
For further evidence of the effects of removing access to mental health treatments, we can look at the almost 12,000 comments the DEA has received on this issue. Patients, doctors, and advocates are sending stories of how removing access will harm people and perhaps even lead to tragedy. Many of these comments were about ketamine telehealth treatments, and how the treatments are literally saving their lives.
Here are just a few: