Congressional Support for Brain Injured Veterans

Please copy and send this letter and the following language to your Member of Congress.

Request: Contact Chairman Bill Young to support Appropriations Bill language to treat brain injury and PTSD //

Subject: Help Civilian Practitioners Solve the Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD Crisis among Veterans //

Dear Congressman/woman ______

War veterans today are in crisis. Are you satisfied with the way they are receiving treatment?

HR 396, the TBI Treatment Act, endorsed by the Brain Injury Caucus, requires payment for treatment that works for an individual patient, and collection of the treatment data under medical evidence rules to speed technological innovation. The attached suggested language is for the Defense Appropriations bill.

VA and DoD medicine have stated they are doing all they can do. On July 21, 2010, the House Veterans Affairs Committee heard from many civilian practitioners. Real treatment that actually improves patient outcomes was described. But practitioners could not get reimbursed for these treatments because the DoD and VA medical bureaucracies are requiring higher levels of evidence for these innovative, effective treatments than they require for drug treatments that only mask symptoms.

Many innovative and ethically available treatments discussed at the VA Round-Table have peer-reviewed literature and evidence to support their use. DoD and VA medicine have stated there is not enough evidence. Congress sent billions for research to DoD and VA, but those bureaucracies never tested many of these treatments that have been developed in the civilian sector. Many of these treatments are not patentable, which makes them very cost-effective, but they cannot attract private sector research dollars.

To solve this crisis a structural and strategic change to veteran medical treatment for TBI or PTSD is needed. Would a physician treat a broken leg with only counseling and drugs? No, they would address the underlying organic injury and work to enhance healing. It is little wonder that counseling and drugs (that only mask symptoms) have not repaired injured brains. Treatment needs to enable and enhance brain healing. The staggering costs of the current ineffective treatments plus injured service members leaving the services, undiagnosed and untreated, represent $millions in recruiting and training as well as follow-on care. These costs and losses are having, and will continue to have, significant budget impacts.

It is time to change this unjust situation for the Battle-Wounded. Private provider solutions are available, but there has been no mechanism to allow payment or allow scientific evidence from these available treatments to be collected. HR 396, the TBI Treatment Act, is designed to get these innovative treatments to our war veterans quickly. The language attached follows the TBI Treatment Act’s philosophy. We urge you to write or call the offices of Reps. Young (FL-10), Rogers (KY-05), and Sessions (TX-32), to assure support for appropriations language to treat brain injury. If you have not done so, we urge you to co-sponsor the Sessions’ TBI Treatment Act that authorizes immediately available, totally ethical and effective treatments.

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Suggested Language for the Defense Appropriation Bill

The Committee is aware that there are several innovative treatments for Brain Trauma Injury (BTI) that are being promulgated and feels strongly that promising new treatments should be supported. Therefore the Committee strongly suggests that within the amounts appropriated $10M a year for five years ($50M) be provided by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a five-year pilot program under which each such Secretary shall provide payment for innovative treatments (including diagnostic testing) of promising, beneficial technologies to treat traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder received by members of the Armed Forces and veterans in which the treatments are conducted in health care facilities other than military treatment facilities or Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities. The following criteria must be met for treatments to be funded: any drug or device used in the treatment must be approved or cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for any purpose and; the treatment must have been approved by an institutional review board operating in accordance with regulations issued by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Payments for successful treatments shall be made directly to the health care facility furnishing the treatment, and must occur not later than 30 days after a member of the Armed Forces or veteran (or health care provider on behalf of such member or veteran) submits to the Secretary documentation regarding the beneficial treatment. A plan for this pilot program shall be provided to the Committee within 30 days of the passage of this bill.

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One Response to Congressional Support for Brain Injured Veterans

  1. john says:

    I appreciate your comments about veterans on this website. I am an Afghanistan War veteran. I started a simliar blog called “The Veterans Guide.”

    You can visit it here and perhaps guest post on it from time to time.

    Veteran’s Guide to PTSD and Benefits

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