WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, joined Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) in introducing the HBOT Access Act of 2021, a bill to make Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) an available resource for veterans suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) who have exhausted other evidence-based treatment options.
“I have heard from many veterans in North Dakota about how effective Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can be for people suffering from a traumatic brain injury or from post-traumatic stress disorder when other options aren’t working,”said Senator Cramer. “Our bill would help increase access to this treatment for the veterans who are running out of options and running low on hope.”
The HBOT Access Act of 2021 would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to refer certain veterans to a participating HBOT clinic if they are suffering from TBI or PTSD and have tried no fewer than two evidence-based treatment options and whom the Secretary of Defense or Secretary of Veterans Affairs has determined are at a high-risk of suicide or self-harm. Currently, HBOT is an FDA-approved treatment option for 14 different illnesses, but is not approved for use by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for traumatic brain injuries, although evidence of beneficial HBOT treatment is documented within the veterans’ community.
Senator Cramer has supported numerous HBOT efforts, including writing portions of the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act – a bill signed into law by President Trump – and working with VA Secretary Denis McDonough and VA leaders on its implementation. The senator also hostedthe Trump Administration’s VA Secretary on a trip to the HBOT clinic in Fargo in the fall of 2019.
Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) is also an original cosponsor of the bill.