House Passes Sessions’ Traumatic Brain Injury Amendment

Today, I secured House approval of my amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill of 2012 (H.R. 2219) to increase funding for research and treatment of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Originally introduced in January as the TBI Treatment Act (H.R. 396), the TBI treatment expansion initiative was adopted as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012.

I am pleased that the House has once again recognized the critical need to provide expanded treatment options for thousands of service men and women who have returned from combat with TBI or PTSD. These brave men and women have sacrificed for their country, and we as a nation have a solemn duty to ensure that they have access to the most effective treatments available, whether through government or private health care.

The TBI treatment amendment adopted under NDAA creates a five-year pilot program that allows active duty and veteran TBI patients to receive health care, not currently available within military and veteran medical facilities, from private physicians who are utilizing an array of leading-edge, successful therapies to treat TBI and PTSD. Through a “pay-for-performance” plan, physicians may qualify for payment from the Department of Defense or Veterans Affairs after proving through independent pre- and post-treatment neuropsychological testing, accepted survey instruments, neurological imaging, or clinical examination that a patient has experienced demonstrable improvement. Treatment and reimbursement safeguards in the legislation ensure immediate access to innovative private health care treatments while reserving payment only for treatments that work.

Reinforcing the House’s previous passage of the pilot program, the amendment to H.R. 2219 moves $10 million to the Defense Health Program account from a $19 billion fund for advanced research and development at the Department of Defense. The Defense Health Program account can fund the “pay-for-performance” pilot programs to deliver innovative services to our brave men and women in uniform.

We can most honor our service members and veterans by ensuring that their health is a top priority. Our soldiers and veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice for American security and prosperity, and they deserve unwavering support from a very grateful nation.


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