Landrieu Comments on VA Report Detailing Care of Iraq, Afghanistan Vets with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Not all patients receive adequate follow-up care.
United States Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., today reacted to a report conducted by the Department of Veteran Affairs Inspector General that studied the care administered to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). At the request of Senate Veteran Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawaii, the report detailed only moderate progress in the VA's case management for veterans afflicted with TBI.
"When our brave men and women in the armed forces go to the frontlines to fight for America, we should have the respect to fight for our service members at home," Sen. Landrieu said. "As our troops return from Iraq and Afghanistan, many are being diagnosed with possible mental health disorders at an alarming rate. Disappointingly, the VA has not provided adequate follow-through on the care of the troops returning home with a brain injury."
The original findings on the care of veterans with TBI were detailed in a 2006 report. Today's report outlined the results from follow-up interviews that were conducted with 52 veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Iraqi Freedom (OIF). It found that 24 percent of these TBI-afflicted veterans, and their families, reported significant unmet needs. Sixteen percent had unmet needs and no evidence of VA case management in the previous year. While case management has improved, it is still not universally provided for veterans with TBI.
Sen. Landrieu last month pressed Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peak on the issue of long-term care for service members suffering from TBI upon their return from Iraq and Afghanistan. In particular, Sen. Landrieu is concerned that many veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are not assigned a case manager, and that some managers carry unmanageable caseloads. She has fought to ensure that those returning from conflict have been screened for both TBI and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sen. Landrieu will continue to fight for comprehensive follow-up care for our veterans with TBI and other mental health disorders to ensure that their service to our country is met with quality treatment at home.