NHA’s Military Hyperbarics Initiative

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The National Hyperbaric Association is developing a television showcase to be aired on Veterans Day to promote the benefit of Hyperbaric Medicine and allied technologies.

Over 300,000 service members have TBI and/or PTSD, with estimates from RAND placing this number closer to 600,000 or higher. And the epidemic of Veteran and active duty military suicides is still at an all-time high. With less than half of the States reporting on Veteran suicides, the suicide rate may be greater than is currently known. Veterans experience depression, dementia and homelessness at a rate greater than the civilian population. Much of this is driven by TBI and PTSD. These injuries and conditions can be treated.

The current approach by the DoD and the VA for active duty and Veteran patients is to manage symptoms and retrain individuals to live with the limitations imposed on them by the brain injuries. We know that this does not need to be the case and we are advocates for treatments that offer tangible and real changes.

Currently the DoD and VA cover and pay for treatments that do not meet the standards of evidence based medicine, especially for TBI and PTSD. HBOT has undergone several clinical trials that demonstrate safety and excellent outcomes for the study subjects. It is time that this option be available and reimbursed by these organizations, as well as public and private insurers.

The NHA is engaged in several fronts to ensure that service members have access to the best available therapies that can give them their lives back.

  • Develop a national agenda that ensures coverage for HBOT and allied therapies in the treatment of TBI, PPCS and PTSD. This includes Tricare, VA, Medicare/Medicaid and private insurers.
  • Establish a network of clinics that has experience and a track record of success in treating TBI, PPCS and PTSD.
  • Work with Charities and Foundations to find ways to help treat our Veterans.
  • Push for medical and scientific research that can be applied quickly to active duty and Veterans injuries.
  • Establish national standards to ensure that all of the therapies are applied in manner that ensures best outcomes.
  • Protect the right of physicians, clinicians and health care practitioners in their use of evidence based medicine.

Only 15 hyperbaric treatments are currently approved for reimbursement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

  • Acute carbon monoxide intoxication
  • Decompression illness
  • Gas embolism
  • Gas gangrene
  • Acute traumatic peripheral ischemia. HBO therapy is a valuable adjunctive treatment to be used in combination with accepted standard therapeutic measures when loss of function, limb, or life is threatened.
  • Crush injuries and suturing of severed limbs
  • Progressive necrotizing infections (necrotizing fasciitis)
  • Acute peripheral arterial insufficiency
  • Preparation and preservation of compromised skin grafts (not primary management of wounds)
  • Chronic refractory osteomyelitis, unresponsive to conventional medical and surgical management
  • Osteoradionecrosis as an adjunct to conventional treatment
  • Soft tissue radionecrosis as an adjunct to conventional treatment
  • Cyanide poisoning
  • Actinomycosis, only as an adjunct to conventional therapy when the disease process is refractory to antibiotics and surgical treatment
  • Diabetic wounds of the lower extremities in patients who meet the following criteria:
    • Patient has type1 or type 11 diabetes and has a lower extremity wound that is due to diabetes
    • Patient has a wound classified as Wagner grade 111 or higher
    • Patient has failed an adequate course of standard wound therapy.
  • Cutaneous, decubitus, and stasis ulcers
  • Chronic peripheral vascular insufficiency
  • Anaerobic septicemia and infection other than clostridial
  • Skin burns (thermal)
  • Senility. (Vascular, Alzheimer’s or FTD)
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Cardiogenic shock
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Acute thermal and chemical pulmonary damage, such as smoke inhalation with pulmonary insufficiency
  • Acute or chronic cerebral vascular insufficiency
  • Hepatic necrosis
  • Aerobic septicemia
  • Nonvascular causes of chronic brain syndrome
    • Pick’s disease
    • Alzheimer’s disease
    • Korsakoff’s disease
  • Tetanus
  • Systemic aerobic infection
  • Organ transplantation
  • Organ storage
  • Pulmonary emphysema
  • Exceptional blood loss anemia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Arthritic Diseases
  • Acute cerebral edema
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Stem Cell Recruitement
  • Stroke

NHA will reach out to U.S. service members and veterans, industry professionals, government officials, and insurers to expand their knowledge of the benefits of hyperbaric treatment for military related injuries. And NHA’s Military Hyperbarics Forum will provide a platform for the exchange of information and success stories related to hyperbaric treatment of U.S. service members and veterans.