Medicaid now covers TMS at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

By Francie Williamson, Communications Coordinator, Department of Psychiatry

Aaron Boes, MD, PhD

As of this month, Medicaid patients receiving transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will no longer have to worry about paying for it out of pocket.

Without insurance coverage, the treatment course could cost between $5,000 and $10,000, which is “cost-prohibitive for most of our patients,” says Aaron Boes, MD, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and director of the noninvasive brain stimulation program.

Boes says TMS is a noninvasive way to deliver a mild electrical stimulation to the brain.“When delivered daily to the left prefrontal cortex it has been shown to have a therapeutic effect in treating depression,” Boes says.

TMS is primarily used to treat depression that has not responded to medications. Since TMS was introduced at UI in 2016, approximately 165 patients have received the treatment, Boes said.

People who are interested in receiving TMS should first discuss the treatment with their psychiatrist or mental health provider, who can make a referral

“Medicare and pretty much every commercial insurance provider covers TMS for eligible patients with medication resistant depression,” Boes says. “It is important that our patients with Medicaid have the same treatment options available as everyone else in order to optimally treat them.”

Monday, July 27, 2020