Pentagon health plan won’t cover brain-damage therapy for troops

T. Christian Miller at ProPublica and Daniel Zwerdling at NPR report:

During the past few decades, scientists have become increasingly persuaded that people who suffer brain injuries benefit from what is called cognitive rehabilitation therapy — a lengthy, painstaking process in which patients relearn basic life tasks such as counting, cooking or remembering directions to get home.

Many neurologists, several major insurance companies and even some medical facilities run by the Pentagon agree that the therapy can help people whose functioning has been diminished by blows to the head.

But despite pressure from Congress and the recommendations of military and civilian experts, the Pentagon’s health plan for troops and many veterans refuses to cover the treatment — a decision that could affect the tens of thousands of service members who have suffered brain damage while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tricare, an insurance-style program covering nearly 4 million active-duty military and retirees, says the scientific evidence does not justify providing comprehensive cognitive rehabilitation. Tricare officials say an assessment of the available research [4] that they commissioned last year shows that the therapy is not well proven.

But an investigation by NPR and ProPublica found that internal and external reviewers of the Tricare-funded assessment criticized it as fundamentally misguided. Confidential documents obtained by NPR and ProPublica show that reviewers called the Tricare study “deeply flawed,” “unacceptable” and “dismaying.” One top scientist called the assessment a “misuse” of science designed to deny treatment for service members.

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1 thought on “Pentagon health plan won’t cover brain-damage therapy for troops

  1. Norman

    Tricare, health insurance for the Military! I wonder, is this a private organization? If so, then who are they? Is this another no bid contract that the Defense Department gave out? Private company serving the Military! Congress is at odds with the Department over care? If they really cared about the Vets, then they would fund them regardless. More smokescreen. I firmly believe that if people are going to send the Military off to fight battles, regardless whether they are justified or just the folly of the President or his crew, then they should be Veterans. They should have the experience of combat, kill or be killed. What we have today, is a bunch of “chicken hawk” sycophants, even the veterans in the bunch, falling all over their selves trying to be macho. I wonder how they would feel if they traded places, their sons or daughters, even their wife or husband was in the boat.? Private Insurance! Wonder what the salaries & bonus perks they receive? The who Military/Industrial/Government cabal is corrupt. Bah Humbug.

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