You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

VA: Funding decline for TBI care is good news

Mar. 12, 2014 - 04:17PM   |  
  • Filed Under

Funding for traumatic brain injury care would drop under the White House’s proposed fiscal 2015 budget, but Veterans Affairs Department officials say that’s actually good news.

In congressional testimony on Wednesday, VA Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel said the reduction reflects the changing nature of veterans’ injuries — not a lack of commitment by VA physicians.

“We’ve seen an almost 70 percent decline in the number of severe TBI cases in recent years, while the number of mild and moderate cases has gone up,” he said. “It costs much less to treat that group than the polytrauma cases. So we’ll be taking care of more people, but at less cost.”

VA’s nearly $164 billion budget request seeks $229 million for traumatic brain injury medical programs in fiscal 2015, down about 1.3 percent from this year’s funding level. Although small, it’s the first decrease in that particular budget account since Barack Obama became president.

Petzel told lawmakers that officials are still focused on diagnosing and treating brain injuries, and noted that overall mental health care funding would rise 4.5 percent — to more than $7.1 billion — in the budget request.

VA also is developing new ways to gauge mental health performance, including such aspects as timeliness of available care and long-term results for patients. Those are expected to be released in the next year.

In addition, VA and the Defense Department last month published new guidelines on post-concussion care to ease patients back into daily life, and better differentiate between temporary trauma and more serious, lingering brain injuries.

VA officials touted the budget proposal as evidence of the White House’s commitment to veterans’ care. It calls for roughly a 3 percent increase in discretionary funding from fiscal 2014, one of only a handful of agencies to see a significant funding increase.

Non-mandatory spending in the VA budget has risen more than 30 percent since 2009.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

From Our Blogs


The latest from PT365

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook