The Military and Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment Act was introduced on May 9, 2007, by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL).
Senator Durbin described this legislation as:
“A bill to ensure that the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs provide to members of the Armed Forces and veterans with traumatic brain injury the services that best meet their individual needs, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Armed Services.”
How Will It Help?
- The Department of Defense will screen military personnel for traumatic brain injuries before and after they are deployed. It is not clear if recruits will be affected by a TBI diagnosis.
- “Traumatic Brain Injury Program” which will be jointly administered by DOD and VA which will establish guidelines for the treatment and care of military personnel with traumatic brain injuries. This will allow patients with traumatic brain injuries to be treated at facilities run by the DOD, and VA, as well as private facilities. This is a huge improvement over the current system which places patients at one of four polytrauma centers. Additionally, patients will have a standardized appeals process to complain about their treatment, and will be guaranteed a referral to a physician in the private sector. However patients will be limited to one outside referral every three months.
- The DOD and VA will also develop a training program for medical personnel at public and private centers, “to ensure that such personnel are consistently using the most up-to-date and best practices and procedures for the screening, treatment, and rehabilitation of members of the Armed Forces and veterans with traumatic brain injury.” Medical records will be transferred “expeditiously” between these agencies.
My favorite portion of this bill is:
“The Secretary of Defense shall, upon the request of any former member of the Armed Forces who served in the Armed Forces after October 6, 2001, and has been discharged from the Armed Forces under other than honorable conditions, conduct a review (including a medical evaluation) to determine whether a traumatic brain injury was a cause of the actions of the member that precipitated the discharge under other than honorable conditions. Such request may also be made by an authorized representative of the member.”
Where Did My Brain Go? will be following this legislation, and I hope it is ratified.
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