A report commissioned by the legislature to investigate whether the state should fund alternative therapies for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries was released last week.
The panel, which consisted of representatives from the state Department of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs, declined to recommend the three therapies they were investigating- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Cognitive Rehabilitation, and Resource Facilitation.
In their conclusion, the panel cited a lack of evidence of the therapies’ effectiveness, as well as the low probability of federal reimbursement as the reasons for not recommending a state-funded treatment program. The report also said that the VA healthcare system, while flawed, is being improved and that veterans are “largely satisfied with their VA healthcare system.”
Jim Bauerle, an advocate for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy representing the Military Veterans Coalition of Indiana, was disappointed with the report, arguing that evidence he and his group provided to the panel was disregarded.
“The State Department of Health indicated that everything needed to be evidence-based and the best peer-reviews, yet peer reviews by the top medical scientists in the world in this area, which rebutted the findings, weren’t even considered,” Bauerle said.
Bauerle also took issue with the panel’s hiring of three doctors from a neuroscience institute in New Jersey to assess the scientific evidence behind all three therapies. Bauerle said that while the doctors were qualified to speak to cognitive rehabilitation, he didn’t feel they were qualified to assess Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
“It’s like taking your car to a car wash to have someone work on the engine,” Bauerle said.
Department of Health representatives who were on the panel declined an interview.