AVESTA IN THE NEWS
Avesta Partners with Veterans Affairs (VA) to Offer Free Ketamine Therapy to Eligible Veterans
Veterans with treatment-resistant mental health conditions have more options for care as Avesta launches a free ketamine therapy program in partnership with the VA
WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Avesta Ketamine and Wellness (“Avesta”), a leading provider of innovative mental health treatments, announced a partnership with Veterans Affairs (VA) to offer free ketamine therapy to eligible veterans. This initiative, available now in Avesta ketamine clinics across Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, and Bethesda, Maryland, will help veterans overcome treatment-resistant depression (TRD), PTSD, anxiety, chronic pain, and substance misuse disorders.
Nearly a million veterans live in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, and thousands suffer from mental health issues. Up to 18% of those deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq have faced PTSD or depression. And nearly 9% of military ambulance calls stem from depression-related incidents. TRD has contributed to the highest veterans’ suicide rates in history, with over 6,000 dying each year.
Avesta seeks to address these challenges by offering IV ketamine infusions and/or Spravato treatments to veterans who have not found relief through traditional therapies. Avesta already partners with the Veterans Mental Health Coalition, a coalition committed to ending veterans’ suicide, and views this new partnership as continuing its mission.
Over a decade of clinical data show one ketamine session rapidly alleviates depression and suicidal thoughts. Six or more sessions combined with integration therapy produce even more enduring benefits. A Little Rock VA Clinic study showed that 86% of veterans showed significant improvement in TRD.
Most VA clinics do not offer ketamine therapy. However, private in-network partnerships make this life-saving treatment more accessible. Thanks to Avesta’s Veterans Care Agreement, veterans near McLean, Virginia, Bethesda, Maryland, and Washington D.C. are eligible to receive treatments at Avesta without financial burden.
“Our partnership with the VA marks a pivotal moment in our commitment to veterans,” said Dr. Ladan Eshkevari, founder and co-CEO of Avesta and pioneer with over 20 years of experience in teaching and administering ketamine. “We recognize veterans’ unique challenges and their struggle to find compassionate care. By providing VA-covered ketamine treatments, we honor their sacrifice and aid in their healing.”
The process for veterans to access ketamine therapy at Avesta is streamlined. Those within the VA healthcare system can begin by consulting with their primary care physician, chronic pain specialist, or psychotherapist to evaluate their suitability for ketamine. Eligible patients’ doctors will submit authorized referrals to Avesta. Upon receiving the referral, Avesta’s care team quickly coordinates a personalized plan for Spravato or IV Ketamine with the patient.
Avesta recognizes that some veterans may not be eligible for VA healthcare. It accounts for this gap through its partnership with TenTen Life, a non-profit that provides counseling and coaching to veterans and first responders. Additionally, Avesta’s Veterans Discount Program provides reduced pricing for current and ex-service members.
“Free ketamine therapy for veterans is critical at a time where traditional therapies fail to address the root causes of depression, and private ketamine prices are often a barrier to entry,” said co-CEO Deborah Tan. “We are not just treating symptoms at Avesta; we are nurturing hope and recovery.”
Avesta operates under a rigorous standard of care. Its licensed clinicians and trained coaches provide a supportive and safe environment. The new VA program is a testament to Avesta’s dedication to pioneering mental health care and its unwavering support for veterans.
The Science Behind Ketamine: Unraveling its Impact on the Brain
Dr. Ladan Eshkevari, PhD, CRNA, LAc, FAAN is interviewed about how Ketamine works in the brain. Ketamine offers hope to people suffering from conditions that have not responded well to traditional therapies.
Avesta is an Advocacy Consortium Clinic
As of February 1, 2021, the national Ketamine Taskforce for Access to Safe Care and Insurance Coverage has been launched. The Taskforce has a mission to ensure access for pain and mental health patients to safe ketamine treatments through insurance coverage of the therapies.
Latest government estimates show that 50 million Americans are estimated to experience chronic pain and 50 million are estimated to live with a mental health condition (with much overlap between the two populations). The great news for these patients is that ketamine, an FDA-approved anesthetic, has been used off-label for both mental health and pain conditions for decades with high efficacy and safety.
The unfortunate news is that insurance organizations around the country typically consider the use “experimental” and therefore do not cover it in its entirety or at rates that are fair to ketamine providers. This has left the tens of millions of Americans experiencing mental health conditions and pain with huge suffering and lack of access to affordable treatments. This presents a huge obstacle to the majority of mental health and pain patients who are forced to forego this life changing treatment because they cannot afford to pay out of pocket.
In light of this heartbreaking reality, the Ketamine Taskforce was created to increase access to lifesaving ketamine treatments. The Taskforce brings together patients, doctors, nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners and researchers from around the country behind this goal.
The Taskforce has built an Advocacy Clinic Consortium — a network of clinics who are aligned in this mission and who plan to contribute aggregated, de-identified real-world data on the efficacy of ketamine for analysis and submission to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Taskforce has already made progress on an application for adequate reimbursement coverage to CMS, who has requested real-world evidence to aid its diligence process.
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