Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
New VA Administration has their Shot at doing the Right Thing
[from the office of SEN Kevin Cramer (R-ND)]
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Promoted at Senate VA Committee Hearing
VA Reiterates Commitment to Fully Implement Recently-passed Bill Containing HBOT Provisions Authored by Senator Cramer
WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) promoted the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) at a Senate Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Committee meeting last week.
“One of my top priorities in the last Congress was the implementation of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for veterans,” said Senator Cramer. “I have seen real benefits from this innovative therapy. I’ve met dozens of veterans who have used it, as well as athletes and others.”
Last year, Senator Cramer wrote portions of the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act – a bill signed into law by President Trump – which authorizes the VA Secretary to enter into public-private partnerships to research the effectiveness of HBOT and requires the VA to use an objective test to measure the effectiveness of HBOT treatment. Senator Cramer outlined the HBOT portions of this legislation in his remarks and vowed to keep pressing the VA to exercise these new authorities.
”This is something I’ve talked to the Secretary about before his confirmation, after his confirmation, and during his hearing,” said Senator Cramer. “Through the law, we’ve provided the VA these authorities related to HBOT, but it can only work if the VA actually utilizes these authorities and cooperates in the research and the partnerships that have been authorized.”
Senator Cramer then questioned panelist Dr. David Carroll, Executive Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, about his views and experiences with HBOT.
“We are eager as always to expand the frontier of what we know and what we can bring to bear for veterans in terms of their care and treatment and moving forward in their lives. Our teams that are working on the implementation of the Hannon Act are dug in on this and moving forward (sic). We have some clinical pilot programs underway that do include an evaluative component,” said Dr. Carroll. “We are absolutely planning to meet the full intent of Congress in implementing this … We are totally on board with you and the committee in moving forward.”
“Any way we can get the most good information, evaluate it in an objective way, and come up with an analysis that helps – I am all about it,” concluded Senator Cramer. “I am grateful for that restatement of commitment, and I want to be as helpful as I can.”
Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-LA) then echoed Senator Cramer’s remarks about the success he has seen regarding HBOT.
“I want to reiterate a little bit what Senator Cramer said,” said Senator Tuberville. “I’ve dealt with head injuries all of my life in football. We’ve had a lot of them, and we’ve had some success with hyperbaric chambers.”
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