In Houston, Rep. Giffords Could Receive Brain Injury Treatment Thousands of Troops Do Not

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Tri Care Will Not Cover Treatment
Tri Care Will Not Cover Treatment

By Marian Wang / ProPublica

As Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords begins rehabilitative therapy in Houston after being shot in the head in Tucson earlier this month, she was transferred today [1] to TIRR Memorial Hermann, a premier rehabilitation hospital renowned for its treatment of traumatic brain injuries [2].

On its website, the hospital calls itself [3] “one of very few hospitals in the country designated as a model system for traumatic brain injury.” Among the techniques it relies on is cognitive rehabilitation [4] therapy, a tailored type of medical treatment designed to retrain the brain to do basic tasks.

It’s a treatment that Rep. Giffords will likely end up receiving, if doctors’ general descriptions of her care plan are any indication. Dr. John Holcomb, a retired Army colonel and trauma surgeon at Memorial Hermann, has described Giffords’ treatment as a “tailored and comprehensive [5] rehab plan” that includes “speech, cognitive, physical rehabilitation [6].”

If Giffords does end up receiving it, she’ll be getting a treatment that many troops don’t. As we’ve reported [7], the Pentagon’s health program, Tricare, has refused to cover [8] cognitive rehabilitation therapy for the tens of thousands of service members who have suffered brain injuries in the line of duty. Tricare, which provides insurance-style coverage to troops and many veterans, does cover speech and occupational therapy, which are often part of cognitive rehabilitation.

Read more at In Houston, Rep. Giffords Could Receive Brain Injury Treatment Thousands of Troops Do Not – ProPublica.

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