TBI has become a big issue in this Presidential election year, and three bills have been introduced recently to help soldiers with traumatic brain injuries.
The first bill, the Wounded Warrior Assistance Act of 2007 was introduced by Rep. Ike Skelton
(D-MO), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, on March 15, 2007.
This bill’s stated purpose was to amend Title 10 to “improve the management of medical care, personnel actions, and quality of life issues for members of the Armed Forces who are receiving medical care in an outpatient status, and for other purposes.”
This bill is good news for soldiers with a TBI. It includes the following new proposals:
- Military outpatients are guaranteed to see their case manager once a week, and each case manager should only have 17 clients.
- Patients will receive a “Service Member Advocate” to meet with them and their families, who will assist in resolving financial and other transitional problems.
- Patients are guaranteed the right to see an independent physician to serve as their advocate.
- Patients will have access to a toll-free telephone number to report problems.
- Patients can have the congressperson notified of their condition.
But the most important part for a patient with a TBI is Section 205 which states:
Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives an interim report describing the changes undertaken within the Department of Defense to ensure that traumatic brain injury victims receive a proper medical designation concomitant with their injury as opposed to the current medical designation which assigns a generic “organic psychiatric disorder” classification.
On March 28, 2007, this bill passed the House, by a vote of 426 - 0.
Where Did My Brain Go? will keep you informed of its progress to President Bush’s desk.