Information for Patients

The Consultation Process

To assess whether Ketamine is the right choice for you, we first evaluate all information every patient sends to us using forms and questionaries provided on our website.

We conduct an initial mental health screening using TeleHealth (Zoom, phone conversation) or in-house interview with various questionnaires and a comprehensive assessment. An anesthesiologist will also perform a general medical assessment and pertinent physical exam on the day of the treatment, to make sure there are no contraindications to receiving Ketamine treatment.

After a general medical assessment by an anesthesiologist, some laboratory tests may be ordered:

  • Comprehensive metabolic panel of your blood on the first day of infusion treatment. If you have a copy of the most recent test (in the last 6 months), please give us a copy of it.
  • Urine drug screen test on the first day of treatment to rule out those who are actively abusing substances.

All tests will be done in our clinic and usually covered by insurance.

The Infusion Process

After the initial assessment, we will schedule your infusion sessions.

On the day of infusion, do not eat food for four hours prior to treatment. No gum, candy, or smoking for six hours prior. Water or clear liquid (like black coffee without milk, tea, Gatorade) are okay up to two hours before treatment.

Please come in comfortable, loose clothing. Bring your headphones and music of your choice to listen to during the session. You may bring a pillow and a warm blanket if you like.

Cost of Treatment

The screening cost is $200 and includes a psychological assessment, a psychological interview with a counselor, a medical history review by an anesthesiologist, and an evaluation after infusions.

The cost for each individual depression treatment is $375. The cost for each individual pain treatment is $875.

We accept cash, check, and credit card.

We will provide a superbill to any of our patients who request one so that they can submit a claim for insurance reimbursement.

We offer a 10% discount to veterans, active-duty military, retired and active duty law enforcement, other first responders, and other licensed medical professionals. Thank you for your service!

If finances are a concern for you, give us a call at 540-839-7073 and we will work with you to find a solution within your financial constraints.

Financial Options

Ketamine Infusion Therapy for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other mental health conditions is considered “off-label” use and is not a service typically reimbursed by insurance companies. As such, patients are expected to cover the costs of their treatments.

For chronic pain-related conditions, some insurance companies will cover a portion of the costs associated with Ketamine Infusion Therapy for particular diagnoses. However, reimbursement is entirely dependent upon the individual medical insurance plans and in/out-of-network stipulations.

We recognize that, despite our commitment to keep our pricing as low as possible, it can still be a financial stretch for many to afford ketamine infusions. Rest assured that we will very carefully evaluate your response to treatment and recommend against further infusions if the benefits are not apparent.

Our hospital is offering financial assistance for non-elective services and a sliding scale discount for payment in full. The amount of discount depends on the total charges on the account.

Another option: We now offer an alternative financing option to our patients, the Advance Care Card. The Advance Care Card is simply to provide both the patient and the medical provider the simplest and most affordable patient financing options available.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Ketamine Therapy

1. What disorders does Ketamine help?

From the literature and published studies, Ketamine may help with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD), Bipolar Depression (Types I and II), Postpartum Depression, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Severe Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Fibromyalgia, Severe Migraines, Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, Chronic Neuropathic Pain.

Ketamine Infusion Therapy is most helpful for those patients suffering treatment-resistant depression, i.e., patients who have tried at least two traditional anti-depressants (tricyclics, SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs) without adequate improvement and/or undesirable side-effects.

Ketamine has been proven to reduce the symptoms of severe, even suicidal treatment-resistant depression for up to 75% of patients. Furthermore, ketamine acts very rapidly, often within hours, as opposed to several weeks with conventional anti-depressants. Ketamine Infusion Therapy is NOT for those suffering temporary or situational depression caused by environmental factors, grief, relationship problems, etc.

2. Are there any side effects or adverse reactions to Ketamine?

National Institutes of Health researchers found that a single, low-dose ketamine infusion was relatively free of side effects for patients with treatment-resistant depression.

From the same study by NIH – Out of 120 possible side effects evaluated, 34 were found to be significantly associated with the treatment. Eight occurred in at least half of the participants: feeling strange, weird, or bizarre; feeling spacey; feeling woozy/loopy; dissociation; floating; visual distortions; difficulty speaking; and numbness. None persisted for more than four hours. No drug-related serious adverse events, cravings, propensity for recreational use, or significant cognitive or memory deficits were seen during a three-month follow-up.

3. What is the difference between Ketamine vs. SSRIs?

The traditional medications prescribed for depression are either not fast-acting enough or effective enough. Ketamine is an effective alternative for some patients. It works differently from an SSRI such as Lexapro or Zoloft.  The classical “shorthand” explanation for how SSRIs work is the “chemical imbalance” theory -There is a deficit of serotonin, and SSRIs increase serotonin levels. That was never really true.

Depression is linked to the build-up of proteins in the brain—ketamine can repair damage to the brain that are the result of long-term stress hormones. The body’s response to stress spills cortisol and other hormones in the brain and damages it in the process. Ketamine is thought to have much more rapid effects on increasing brain plasticity.

4. Do I need to stop taking any medications prior to Ketamine treatment?

Most medications do not need to be stopped prior to treatment with Ketamine.

Benzodiazepines and Lamictal (lamotrigine) have both been shown to partially inhibit the effectiveness of the infusion. Patients taking these medications should, if possible, avoid these medications for 12 hours before their infusion, and should wait 6 hours after their infusion before resuming them. If you are taking relatively large dosages of benzodiazepines, to maximize your potential for a successful response to Ketamine therapy you may need to work in advance with your prescribing physician to taper your dose down.

5. What can exclude you from ketamine therapy?

  • Active substance abuse — alcohol, cannabis, non-prescribed medications (Urine toxicology screening prior to the initiation of treatment to prevent the risk of precipitated mania may be ordered by an anesthesiologist).
  • History of psychosis, History of increased intracranial pressure, pregnancy (current), uncontrolled hypertension or/and  Acute or unstable cardiovascular disease.
  • A previous negative response to ketamine.

6. Is it FDA approved?

Ketamine has approval by the FDA for a surgical level of anesthesia. Medical uses outside of the operating room are considered “off-label,” but allowed when deemed medically appropriate by a medical doctor.

It has been estimated that over 20% of all prescriptions in the United States are “off-label.” Indeed, many academic medical centers, including Yale University, the University of California in San Diego, the Mayo Clinic, and the Cleveland Clinic, have all begun offering ketamine treatments off-label for severe depression.

7. Is Ketamine therapy covered by insurance?

Ketamine infusion therapy is not a service typically reimbursed by insurance companies. As the treatment gains acceptance, we hope this situation changes. However, depending upon your individual medical insurance plan, some portion of the treatment may be eligible for partial reimbursement. We will provide you, on request, with the paperwork to submit to your insurance company in the event they offer reimbursement for the treatments.

8. What is the cost of treatment?

The screening cost is $200 and includes a psychological assessment, a psychological interview with a counselor (if needed), a medical history review by an anesthesiologist, and an evaluation after infusions. This cost will cover evaluation after infusion too.

The cost for each individual Depression treatment is $375. The cost for each individual Chronic Pain treatment is $875.

We accept cash, check, and credit card.

We will provide a superbill to any of our patients who request one so that they can submit a claim for insurance reimbursement.

9. Do I need to continue seeing my psychiatrist, therapist or primary care physician?

Please continue to see your health provider during and after the ketamine treatment. We are providing consultant care for you and your providers.

10. Is there potential for ketamine addiction?

No.

You may have heard of Ketamine as a party drug under other names such as Special K, Kit Kat, or Vitamin K. However, the dose used for the treatment of depression is much smaller than the dosages used in illicit settings, and it has been found that at these very low doses, in a medical setting, there is virtually no potential for addiction or abuse. In fact, low-dose Ketamine infusion therapy can be helpful for patients struggling to recover from addiction to alcohol or drugs.

If you have any other questions about ketamine treatment, please contact us at re-treatinfo@bcchospital.org.