The bill would allow veterans to receive the treatment at any licensed and equipped medical facility in the state. The bill would also create the Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment and Recovery Revolving Fund, which would pay for the treatment.
The bill is similar to a piece of legislation that failed last year. Lawmakers called the previous version into question, saying the science was unproven. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved the therapy for treatment of brain injury.
But an Israeli study published in November shows the treatment can help improve brain function in traumatic brain injury patients. With more evidence backing the treatment, Sen. Mark Allen, R-Spiro, said he’s more optimistic about the current version.
Allen, one of the bill’s authors, said the program would be funded through private donations, meaning it could be implemented with no financial impact to the state.
Retired Air National Guard Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon, the state secretary of military and veteran affairs, said she hopes the program would help raise public awareness of veterans issues. Helping veterans with traumatic brain injury with recovery could prevent a range of other issues, including substance abuse and incarceration, she said.
“We have a huge investment in the military in Oklahoma,” she said. “We have a huge debt to those who served.”
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We have a huge investment in the military in Oklahoma. We have a huge debt to those who served.”
Retired Air National Guard Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon,
State secretary of military and veteran affairs