Lawmakers Want to Expand Use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Vets with Brain Injury

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(Stars and Stripes) – Two lawmakers introduced legislation in the House and Senate on Wednesday that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury – an unproven treatment that some veterans have praised as a useful tool in their recovery.

The VA began offering hyperbaric oxygen therapy for veterans with PTSD at a few select VA facilities in 2017. The TBI and PTSD Treatment Act, introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., would require the VA to make it available to any veteran with PTSD. The bill also extends the use of the therapy to veterans with traumatic brain injury.

“This bill gives veterans an additional choice to treat these serious mental health issues,” Biggs said in a statement. “[Hyperbaric oxygen therapy] has the potential to help the VA make progress in their mental health and suicide prevention efforts. This is an avenue where we have a lot of ground to gain.” CONTINUE