With an estimated 20% of injured American soldiers who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan experiencing a possible traumatic brain injury (TBI), the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), Vienna, Va, urges President Obama to extend military health care coverage to include cognitive rehabilitation, a proven treatment for this signature injury of modern combat, says BIAA.

Sen Evan Bayh and then-Sen Barack Obama led a group of 10 Senators in issuing a letter on August 4, 2008, to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates urging coverage of cognitive rehabilitation within the military’s TRICARE health insurance program. In a press release announcing this letter, then-Sen Obama described cognitive rehabilitation therapy as "one of the most accepted treatments for TBI." Congressional Task Force co-chairs Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr and Congressman Todd Platts spearheaded a similar letter to the Department of Defense on September 19, 2008, which was signed by 67 members of the House.

More recently, the Anthem Insurance Companies Inc. (also known as Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Anthem Health Plans) determined that cognitive rehabilitation is a medically necessary treatment for patients with TBI, says BIAA. Anthem cited BIAA’s position paper, Cognitive Rehabilitation: The Evidence, Funding and Case for Advocacy, among the authoritative publications consulted. United Health Care followed suit in May 2009 with a similar decision covering cognitive rehabilitation for individuals with brain injury, says BIAA.

In the letter to President Obama, BIAA urges him to "follow through on your commitment to ensuring that our nation’s wounded warriors gain access to the best brain injury care this nation has to offer, and thus to direct Secretary Gates to immediately enact official TRICARE coverage of cognitive rehabilitation," according to the BIAA.

BIAA and its nationwide network of state affiliates, chapters and support groups focus on increasing access to health care and raising awareness and understanding of brain injury through advocacy, education and research, the group says.

[Source: Brain Injury Association of America]