Tuesday, January 25, 2011

From cannon fodder to forever vegetables - courtesy of the good ole U.S. of A.

Congress to Investigate Pentagon Decision to Deny Coverage for Brain Injured Troops.  They need an investigation?  What the hell for?  So they can continue to cherry-pick the results?  And how long will this investigation take?  Until those returning - damaged within or without - die?  Until their families are destitute?  Or both?  Given what it's costing, and has cost, these returning injured and their families - does it matter what it costs the damned government, or Tricare?

A key congressional oversight committee announced today that it was opening an investigation into the basis of a decision by the Pentagon's health plan to deny a type of medical treatment to troops with brain injuries.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the chairman of the subcommittee on contracting oversight, said she wanted to examine a contract issued by Tricare, an insurance-style program used by soldiers and many veterans, to a private company to study cognitive rehabilitation therapy for traumatic brain injury. Such injuries are considered among the signature wounds of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The study, by Pennsylvania-based ECRI Institute, found insufficient or weak evidence to support the therapy. Often lengthy and expensive, cognitive rehabilitation programs are designed to rewire soldiers' brains to conduct basic life tasks, such as reading books, remembering information and following instructions. ECRI's findings ran counter to several other studies, including ones sponsored by the Pentagon and the National Institutes of Health, which concluded that cognitive rehabilitation was beneficial.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, McCaskill cited an investigation by ProPublica and NPR in December, which found that top scientific experts had questioned the Tricare-funded study in confidential reviews, calling it "deeply flawed" and "unacceptable."

"If true, these reports raise significant questions regarding the Department's award and management of the contract with ECRI Institute, and may have profound implications for hundreds of thousands of injured service members and their families," McCaskill wrote. "We owe it to our brave service members to find the truth." (emphasis mine)
Ya think Claire??

Now, since I haven't read the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as all of you in Congress commencing this investigation surely have [insert eyeroll here], could somebody explain to me where exactly does traumatic brain injury fit into these pre-existing condition eligibility requirements?  Now it could just be me, but it seems that the active-duty, military person with a traumatic brain injury, now insured by Tricare - is stuck between a rock and a hard place in this master plan.

While the swooners continue to champion the Changeling's health INSURANCE reform bill (which only fattens the pockets of the health insurance industry by giving them a guaranteed pool of people to milk insure through his mandate), the number of  those needing real health "CARE" reform continues to mount.  Guess they'd rather spend up to $50,000/each for domestic use of aerial drones by law enforcement, than $50,000 per patient on cognitive rehabilitation therapy for traumatic brain injury for their wounded "warriors." {smdh}

UPDATE:  Per this Politico piece, "White House beefs up support for military families."

Along with career counseling for retiring service members and broader availability of services for spouses and dependants, the initiative includes enhanced mental health programs along with safeguards to protect military families from predatory lenders and financial scams, he said. (emphasis mine)

So why the "investigation" again?"

UPDATE II:  In Houston, Rep. Giffords Could Receive Brain Injury Treatment Thousands of Troops Do Not

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