TreatNOW, a coalition of veterans working to prevent the suicide and opioid epidemics afflicting service members, wants Congress to enact legislation and reallocate dollars to pay for treatments they say could help reduce the increasing number of suicides among veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The report, The National Brain-Wounded Veteran Brain Drain: Cost-Benefit Analysis of Changing the DoD and VA Standard of Care for TBI and Suicide Prevention, is an analysis of the total cost of not properly treating brain wounds. The current standard of care for TBI and PTSD veterans includes predominantly drugs and various cognitive and talk therapies. The Coalition says these treatments are ineffective and short-lived, even though they cost $118.1 billion each year, and have done very little to reduce veteran suicides.
“The government’s current solution is to simply treat the symptoms, providing no true relief or healing for those suffering. It’s time Congress fund brain-healing, life-saving treatments, like hyperbaric oxygen therapy, for those who have risked it all,” said Eric Koleda, co-author of the report and national director of TreatNOW Coalition State Legislative Efforts.
The report couples its financial analysis with a call for funding hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). It projects that untreated veteran TBIs will cost the government $4.7 trillion over the course of 40 years. But savings can be achieved by using functional medicine options like HBOT.
“The VA and DOD spend billions looking for symptom-management solutions, but don’t provide veterans with “informed consent” about safe and effective treatments on the market. The economic cost to taxpayers and the health costs to veterans is unsustainable and unacceptable,” said Rob Beckman, Ph.D., co-author of the report and chief knowledge officer of the Foundation for the Study of Inflammatory Disease.
The report analyzed the cost-benefit of treatment options, like HBOT, for the estimated 877,000 brain-wounded post-9/11 veterans. The full report can be found here.
The TreatNOW Coalition is a nationwide network of veterans, doctors, clinicians, economists, and activists on a mission to save America’s veterans from the suicide and opioid epidemics. The Coalition promotes brain healing treatments like hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and connects veterans suffering from concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with life-altering medicine. Its goal is to transition veterans from a lifetime of pain to a fulfilled, healthy, and robust life. Currently, TreatNOW has returned over 8,500 veterans, athletes, first responders, and citizens to work, school, or active duty. Learn more at treatnow.org.