Can I get treated for ADD at the Student Health Center?

ADD medicine

Q: Does Student Health Services provide evaluation and treatment for ADD/ADHD, and if not, can you refer me to a reliable provider in the Columbus area?

A:  As we mentioned in a previous post, the management of Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder – ADD or ADHD – is tricky because of the dangerous nature of the medications involved, so Student Health Services has to follow very strict guidelines.  Here’s the deal: 

The primary care physicians at Student Health Services can treat you for ADHD if the following are in place:

  • You have documentation of neuropsychological testing on file with us that establishes the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD and includes the name and specialty of the tester as well as the results of the specific tests performed.
  • You do not have other mental health diagnoses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or psychotic disorders.
  • You sign a medication contract with us.

Does a letter from my doctor back home count as documentation?  No. 

Does a copy of my medical records from back home count?  No.   

But my doctor never sent me for all of those tests.  She just diagnosed me in her office, started prescribing the medicines and I’ve always done fine on them. 

In that case, you’ve got two options: keep seeing your doctor back home for your ADHD or get formal testing done to confirm the diagnosis.

So where do I get this neuropsychological testing done?

Unfortunately, Student Health Services does not offer neuropsychological testing at this time.  Counseling and Consultative Service offers individual and group counseling services for students with ADHD and The Office of Disability Services can assist students with ADHD in obtaining necessary accommodations for academic work, but neither of them offer testing either.

If your doctor can’t refer you to someone back home, we usually refer students to Dr. Robert Bornstein or Dr. Elizabeth Cook at the Medical Center.  The testing usually takes around half a day to complete and costs around $300 out of pocket (be sure to check with your health insurance plan for exact coverage info).

We know this is a huge hassle.  We know that it’s a lot of time and money – two things that most students don’t have a lot of.  And most of all, we know that it sucks to be made to feel like a criminal when all you’re doing is seeking care for a medical condition.  And we are sorry.  But unfortunately, there are people out there who are abusing the system and we only make you jump through all of these hoops to ensure your safety and the safety of the other students on campus.

If you have any further questions about ADHD management at Student Health Services, you’re always welcome to call or make an appointment to speak with us about it.   

John A. Vaughn, MD (Ohio State University Student Health Services)

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