Psychiatrists Call for Ketamine Insurance Coverage

MINNEAPOLIS--()--Leading psychiatrists are challenging inconsistent medical insurance coverage for ketamine, a key medication for patients with treatment-resistant depression, anxiety and other severe mental health conditions. The doctors maintain that the drug is already widely used and proven highly effective for patients who do not respond to traditional medications. However, some insurers give ketamine an unclear label of ‘investigative.’

In a recent blog, co-founders of Advanced Brain & Body Clinic (ABBC) in Minneapolis, Dr. Stephen Manlove and Dr. Brian H. Johns wrote: “Given the debilitating and life-threatening nature of treatment-resistant depression, anxiety and PTSD, the mental health community and our patients need ketamine–in all its forms–as a treatment option. And in too many cases, insurance coverage is the only barrier.”

The blog details seven reasons why ketamine should be insured and encouraged for severely depressed and suicidal patients:

  1. Ketamine is in general use in the medical community in the US and internationally.
  2. Ketamine has been proven safe and effective—in fact it can be life-saving—for depression and anxiety patients who have often found no relief from traditional antidepressants.
  3. Ketamine-related research is increasing, with recent FDA approval of clinical trials for R-ketamine.
  4. Ketamine is needed for treatment-resistant depression.
  5. Ketamine can be safely used in a structured outpatient setting.
  6. There is a safe and rigorous treatment protocol.
  7. Ketamine is economically efficient.

Oklahoma City psychiatrist Rachel Dalthorp is actively appealing to Oklahoma legislators and medical directors at major insurers to move ketamine insurance forward.

“Research has shown there are many different causes of depression,” says Dalthorp. “So it’s illogical to think that you can treat a different type of depression with the same medicine. When you look at the incidence rate of depression, the data is behind where we really are in practice. We’re in a crisis, and we have to act. That means getting these patients the medicine that’s most likely to put them into remission quickly, and without side effects, and that’s what these medicines can do. I’m really working to increase access to innovative and effective treatments for our patients.”

Advanced Brain + Body Clinic is one of the only clinics in the country to bill insurers for the administration of ketamine. Johns and Manlove have administered over 16,000 ketamine treatments to treatment resistant depression patients and have seen astounding results - ketamine has a 70% success rate in TRD patients compared to a less than 10% chance of success they would have if they tried yet another conventional antidepressant medication. “We continue to advocate for the coverage of ketamine despite the challenges we’ve faced because we believe that everyone who needs this medication should have access no matter their income level. The benefits far outweigh any potential risks,” says Johns.

For more information on treatment-resistant depression and ketamine treatment, visit

About Dr. Stephen Manlove, MD

Dr. Manlove is one of the most entrepreneurial psychiatrists in the upper midwest and owner/operator of Manlove Brain + Body Health in Rapid City, SD and Advanced Brain + Body Clinic in Minneapolis, MN. As an MD, he holds multiple board certifications in psychiatry/neurology, internal medicine and forensics. This deep understanding of medicine gives him a unique ability to practice truly holistic psychiatry—fusing lifestyle changes and brain health best practices with genetic testing and a detailed laboratory workup to develop a personalized plan for each patient. As an early adopter of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and ketamine/Spravato, he and the Manlove Brain + Body team have helped thousands of patients suffering from treatment resistant depression, anxiety and PTSD.

About Dr. Brian H. Johns, MD

Dr. Brian Johns is a Minneapolis psychiatrist at Advanced Brain + Body Clinic and a mental health leader who helped shape ketamine treatment for depression in Minnesota and the nation. He co-authored a Minnesota VA Hospital medical trial to open the door for ketamine treatment to change–from a revolving-door hospital intervention, to an ongoing regimen at an outpatient clinic–while setting the benchmark for ketamine infusions nationwide. He then developed the region’s first ketamine infusion clinic. Over the past several years, he has administered or overseen thousands of ketamine treatments.

About Dr. Rachel Dalthorp, MD

Dr. Rachel Dalthorp received her medical degree from the University Of Oklahoma College Of Medicine. Following medical school she completed a four year psychiatric residency at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center where she focused on developing expertise in the assessment and treatment of mood disorders related to the female reproductive cycle. Dr. Dalthorp completed specialized training in the treatment of female sexual disorders and the use of psychedelic medications to treat depression. Dr. Dalthorp is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.


Bob Brin

Release Summary

Leading psychiatrists are challenging inconsistent medical insurance coverage for ketamine, a key medication for treatment-resistant depression.


Bob Brin