California Requirement for In-Person Psychiatric Evaluation for ADHD Medication Prescriptions

Noah Warren
August 15, 2023

On September 1, 2021, California implemented a new law requiring individuals with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to receive an in-person psychiatric evaluation before being prescribed medication. The goal of this legislation is to ensure that individuals with ADHD receive appropriate care that considers medical history, physical health, and mental health diagnoses.

While this new requirement is intended to improve mental healthcare delivery, it also poses potential barriers to care for individuals with ADHD. In this blog post, we will explore the implications of California's new requirement and discuss ways to mitigate potential challenges in order to promote access to care for those with ADHD.

in-person psychiatric evaluation

The Impact of the New Requirement

The new California requirement for an in-person psychiatric evaluation prior to the prescription of ADHD medication may pose potential challenges for individuals with ADHD. For example, the in-person requirement may impose additional burdens on individuals who reside in rural or underserved areas, as well as those who have mobility or transportation issues.

Additionally, the requirement may result in delays in treatment, as individuals may struggle to find an available psychiatrist or may face wait times for appointments. This delay may result in additional impairments in school or workplace performance, or increased difficulties with daily functioning.

On the other hand, the new legislation aims to ensure appropriate and comprehensive mental healthcare for individuals with ADHD. The goal of the evaluation is to ensure that ADHD diagnoses and medication prescriptions are made with consideration given to medical history, comorbidities, and other factors that may impact care. Moreover, the in-person evaluation may allow patients to develop a trusting relationship with their psychiatrist, paving the way for more personalized treatment plans.

Mitigating the Challenges

While the new legislation may present challenges for individuals with ADHD, there are steps to mitigate potential barriers to care. One potential solution is the use of telepsychiatry services to conduct virtual evaluations. Such services have been found to be effective in providing quality mental healthcare while addressing barriers to care such as accessibility and convenience.

Additionally, healthcare professionals can employ measures such as outreach to rural communities or to individuals experiencing transportation difficulties. Health plans may also consider reducing or eliminating the need for prior authorizations, to further promote timely access to care.

Ultimately, the new requirement for in-person psychiatric evaluations for ADHD medication prescriptions highlights the need for a multi-faceted approach to mental healthcare delivery. While it is essential to ensure comprehensive mental healthcare, it is equally important to promote access to timely and effective treatment. This new requirement represents an opportunity for us to consider innovative solutions that meet the needs of individuals with ADHD while promoting effective care.


California's new requirement for an in-person psychiatric evaluation prior to the prescription of ADHD medications represents a new challenge for those seeking mental healthcare. Although the requirement aims to promote comprehensive care, it also poses potential barriers to care. To overcome these challenges and promote access to mental healthcare, healthcare professionals and policymakers must work together to consider innovative solutions that meet the unique needs of individuals with ADHD.

By focusing on accessibility, patient-centered care, and timely access to treatment, we can ensure that individuals with ADHD receive the care they need to thrive and lead fulfilling lives.

We at Roots Mental Wellness understand the challenges facing individuals with ADHD, and offer telepsychiatry services to help you access the care you need. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support you on your journey towards mental wellness.

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Noah Warren
Director of Business Development