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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Chair, thousands of our brave servicemen and women are returning from combat with severe cases of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), resulting in an inability to hold a job, properly care for their families, or in some cases, to overcome suicidal tendencies. As a nation, we have the responsibility for their care and recovery.

Currently, private healthcare providers across the United States are helping brain injury patients with new and innovative treatments that are not currently available or approved by the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Examples of these treatments include Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), flash doses of approved drugs, and small device implants that operate like brain pacemakers. While the Department of Defense is currently conducting their own studies on these already proven treatment methods, it will take five or more years to formally approve these treatments and make them accessible to our injured troops and veterans. If a treatment is good enough for private medicine, why is it not good enough for military medicine?

In an effort to fix this delinquency I introduced the TBI Treatment Act (H.R. 396) in January 2011. Today I am proud to offer it as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310) with my friend and colleague from California, Congressman Mike Thompson. The TBI Treatment Act helps expedite these ground-breaking treatments to our nations' veterans and active duty soldiers suffering from TBI.

The TBI Treatment Act establishes a 5-year ``pay-for-performance'' pilot program, not to exceed $10 million per year. Under my amendment, healthcare providers will treat active duty soldiers and veterans at no cost to the patient. The healthcare provider gets reimbursed from the DoD/VA respectively, only if the treatment is proven successful (based on independent pre- and post-treatment neuropsychological testing, accepted survey instruments, neurological imaging, or clinical examinations). Currently, soldiers are paying out-of-pocket for such important care. Lastly, treatments must be FDA-approved and approved by an institutional review board operating in accordance with regulations issued by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

I ask that you join me in support of the Sessions-Thompson amendment to NDAA and help deliver proven treatments to our soldiers and veterans suffering from Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).


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