WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, held an oversight hearing yesterday on the state of care for troops and veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury. Akaka praised VA and DOD for making significant progress since a hearing on this issue in 2007, but cautioned that serious obstacles remain in providing the seamless, quality care that is needed by those suffering from what has become the signature wound of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Just a few years ago, the government knew very little about how to treat troops and veterans suffering from TBI. Since then, TBI care has improved dramatically, but we must continue to improve timeliness and enhance partnerships between the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense and the private sector. As long as we have any veterans with undiagnosed TBI, any partnerships with community providers left untapped, or any research left undone, there is still work to do,” said Akaka.
The hearing brought together officials from VA and DOD and experts from academia and the private sector to discuss recent progress and highlight areas where improvement is needed. Chairman Akaka also invited Jonathan Barrs, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom working to overcome TBI, and Karen Bohlinger, wife of Montana’s Lieutenant Governor and mother of a former Army Special Forces soldier suffering from the injury, for their first-hand accounts.
More information about the hearing including statements, testimony and the webcast is available here: veterans.senate.gov
May 6, 2010