Tuberville Leads Effort to Provide Veterans Greater Access to Treatment, Introduces HBOT Access Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) today introduced the HBOT Access Act of 2021 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. U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) are original cosponsors of the bill.

The impact of battle stays with our veterans long after their time in uniform ends,” said Sen. Tuberville. “Many of our veterans have scars that aren’t visible, and we are seeing the effects of that with rising veteran suicide rates. We’ve got to do more to help these veterans who are suffering from brain injuries and PTSD. The least we can do is allow for access to additional treatment for veterans determined to be at high risk, especially if that treatment isn’t a surgery or more drugs. I have spoken with Alabama veterans who have experienced the benefits of HBOT treatment, and if increasing access for those who are struggling and have exhausted other options will help end the growing epidemic of veteran suicide, then that is something we should all get behind.”

“We need to ensure that our veterans have access to the treatment and care necessary to help them recover,” said Sen. Hoeven. “We worked for more than a year to bring HBOT access to veterans in North Dakota and Minnesota under the VA’s clinical demonstration program. Now, we’re working to advance legislation that will build on that pilot program and provide veterans across the nation with access to HBOT when traditional therapies aren’t delivering the outcomes our veterans need. The men and women who have served our nation deserve the highest quality care, and allowing HBOT as an option for veterans who continue to struggle with PTSD or TBI will better provide them with access to the care they have earned.”

“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 Sen. 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 would require the VA to refer certain veterans suffering from TBI or PTSD, who 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. This legislation builds on the Right to Try Act legislation signed into law by President Trump. 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 Tuberville’s video remarks on the HBOT Access Act can be found here.

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.