Monday, 29 August 2011

In Spite of Benefits, Veterans with Brain Injury Not Eligible for Therapy Coverage

Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford's brain injury after the shocking shooting in Arizona early this year, and her triumphant return to Congress last month, have underscored the progress made by doctors who used cognitive rehabilitation therapy to treat her injuries. These therapies have been made possible by research that doctors have conducted on veterans with brain injury returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.However, these very same veterans do not enjoy the benefits of cognitive rehabilitation therapy, because it is not a covered treatment.

It is estimated that one out of every five veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffers from some kind of traumatic brain injury.Many of these injuries are concussions sustained as a result of impact from bomb explosions.The doctors studying brain injury treatment have based much of their research on returning service members.One of the therapies that have been found to have great benefits in the treatment of patients with traumatic brain injury is cognitive rehabilitation therapy.

Cognitive rehabilitation therapy includes a range of programs including speech and communication therapy and programs to boost a brain injury victim’s memory and social skills.This therapy is designed to help the patient to learn more than just how to walk and talk. Patients also need to learn how to perform routine tasks like dressing and feeding themselves, and cognitive rehabilitation therapy aims to accomplish the learning of these tasks.

However, cognitive rehabilitation therapy is not covered by health care insurance for veterans.Many veterans are covered under the TriCare Insurance Plan, and the program has refused to cover cognitive rehabilitation therapy on the basis that its benefits have not been conclusively proven.This is in spite of the fact that Department of Veterans Affairs,California veteran benefits lawyers and brain injury experts have found it to be an effective therapy for brain injury victims, and the fact that doctors have used it to great effect in a number of patients, like Gabrielle Gifford.Much of the reluctance to include cognitive rehabilitation therapy in insurance plans is the high cost of these treatments.

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