Dr. Penner will do several measurements and fit an individual for a cap. Using these measurements he calculates the location of the brain that is being treated, called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Markings on the cap are made to ensure that every treatment is calibrated and placed identically between sessions.
Next, Dr. Penner determines the ideal stimulation intensity by using a smaller magnet to stimulate the motor cortex to determine the minimum strength needed to produce a response (hand or thumb twitch). The patient then sits in the treatment chair and the treatment coil is placed. Dr. Penner will start the first treatment at a low intensity and increase as tolerated. Therapy may be conducted with supplied earplugs if the rapid “woodpecker-like” tapping noise is too loud. Most patients choose not to use earplugs.
HOW LONG IS THE TREATMENT SCHEDULE?
TMS treatment typically occurs 5 days a week for 6 weeks, followed by a 3 week taper period. Each session typically lasts 19 minutes but can be as short as 3 minutes and 26 seconds. Upon arrival, patients will briefly check-in at the front desk. After checking in, one of our TMS technicians will greet the patient and escort them to a private suite for treatment.
We offer flexible scheduling, tailored to the lives of our patients. The front desk reception is available to make scheduling arrangements.
WILL THE PATIENT BE ABLE TO DRIVE AFTER TREATMENT?
There is no altered consciousness or confusion so patients may operate a motor vehicle and go back about their day as normal. Many individuals receive treatment before work or on their lunch break.
What are the Potential Side Effects?
TMS typically has minimal side effects, such as minor headaches, dizziness, scalp tenderness at the site of stimulation, tingling, spasm of the facial muscles, and lightheadedness. Individuals suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to experience a manic episode and in extremely rare instances seizures have been reported. TMS has no observable effects on cognition or cognitive function. As concentration deficits are often a symptom of depression many individuals report improvement in concentration after TMS treatment.
DOES INSURANCE COVER TMS?
Nearly all insurers cover TMS Treatment, however, coverage varies based on whether or not the provider is credentialed with a prospective patient’s insurance plan. Currently, Dr. Penner is credentialed with Regence Blue Shield, Premera Blue Cross (and nearly all out of state Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans), Tricare, US Family Health Plan, Kaiser Permanente, United Healthcare Commercial, Providence Behavioral Health, First Choice Health Network, Cigna, Aetna, Beacon Health Strategies, Molina Medicaid, Medicare and the US Department of Veteran Affairs.
During the pre-screening process, Olympia Center for TMS & Psychiatry will rule out potential barriers for insurance reimbursement and identify any contraindications that can prohibit safe treatment.
IS THERE A CASH PAYMENT OPTION FOR TMS?
If a patient qualifies for treatment and insurance coverage is not available, Olympia Center for TMS & Psychiatry offers a discounted cash-pay rate and flexible repayment options on a case-by-case basis. We believe finances should never be a barrier to treatment.
DOES INSURANCE COVER TREATMENT FOR PATIENTS UNDER THE AGE OF 18?
Typically, insurers do not cover patients under the age of 18. However, Dr. Penner has worked with some insurers to obtain a “single case agreement” or exception to this age group. Dr. Penner is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and has experience treating adolescent depression with TMS. If insurance reimbursement is not available, Olympia Center for TMS & Psychiatry offers cash payment options on a case-by-case basis. To learn more about these options, please contact our billing department.