U.S. military continues to neglect brain injury care
April 10, 2023

GAO report shows military failed to establish standardized system to identify and track troops suffering from Traumatic Brain Injuries

Despite increased efforts to address Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) among military personnel, a new report has revealed that the military is still mismanaging the care of troops with TBI.

View more about TBI here.

The report, released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), shows that the military has failed to establish a standardized system to identify and track troops who have suffered a TBI. This has led to inconsistent and inadequate care for those affected.

According to the report, the military also lacks adequate data on the prevalence of TBIs, which makes it difficult to assess the extent of the problem and allocate appropriate resources. In addition, the report found that military providers do not always follow clinical guidelines for treating TBIs, leading to suboptimal care for some patients.

The mismanagement of TBI care in the military is particularly concerning given the high prevalence of TBIs among service members. The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center has reported over 400,000 cases of TBI among military personnel since 2000.

TBI is often referred to as the “invisible wound of war” as it can cause a range of symptoms, including headaches, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating, which can be difficult to diagnose and treat.

The GAO report recommends that the military improve its identification and tracking of TBI cases, enhance its data collection and analysis efforts, and ensure that providers follow clinical guidelines for treating TBIs.

This is not the first time that the military has come under fire for its handling of TBI care. In 2019, the Defense Health Agency admitted to systemic problems in its management of TBI care, including a lack of proper training for providers and inadequate patient follow-up.

It is crucial that the military take action to address these issues and provide the appropriate care and support for service members affected by TBIs. This includes not only improving the identification and treatment of TBIs but also investing in research to better understand the long-term effects of these injuries and develop more effective treatments.

The men and women who serve in the military put their lives on the line to protect our country. We owe it to them to ensure that they receive the best possible care, including for traumatic brain injuries. The military must act quickly to address the deficiencies highlighted in the GAO report and provide the care that our service members deserve.

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