SEN Cramer and VA SEC-designate
Denis McDonough discuss HBOT
Updating VA Pilot Demonstration and new Legislation
JANUARY 27, 2021
Sen. Cramer Pushes HBOT Treatment with VA Secretary Nominee, Invites Him to North Dakota
WASHINGTON – Following their conversation earlier this month, U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) pressed Denis McDonough, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), during his Senate VA Committee confirmation hearing today on the issue of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) and support for it in the VA Department. Senator Cramer invited Mr. McDonough to Fargo to visit the HBOT clinic there.
“I’m a proponent of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy because I’ve seen it work,” said Senator Cramer. “A number of veterans I know have had their lives changed, and in some cases saved, by this important therapy.”
Last year, Senator Cramer led legislation – which Congress passed and President Trump signed – authorizing the VA Secretary to enter into public-private partnerships to research the effectiveness of HBOT, and to require the VA to use an objective test to measure the effectiveness of HBOT treatment.
S.785, the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019, is a bill to improve mental health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes. SEC. 702 calls for partnerships with non-federal government entities to provide Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to veterans and for independent and unbiased studies on the use of such therapy for treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. [For more details, see: https://conta.cc/31jokU4 ].
Mr. McDonough committed to fairly analyzing HBOT research and working with Senator Cramer to ensure this law is implemented. He inherits a Pilot Demonstration Program where the VA is paying for Hyperbaric Oxygenation treatments for veterans suffering from PTSD. That program has been extended for another year. Successes in the program have been uniformly positive. Dozens of veterans who have failed to improve in VA-sponsored PTSD programs have shown significant medical improvement after completing HBOT treatment. It is on the strength of those results at the Fargo, North Dakota Healing With Hyperbarics clinic that Senators Cramer and Hoeven have shown such staunch support for making HBOT part of the VA’s standard of care for veteran brain wounds.
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