S 666

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 666

To require a report on the establishment of a Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center or Polytrauma Network Site of the Department of Veterans Affairs in the northern Rockies or Dakotas, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 29, 2011

Mr. BAUCUS (for himself, Mr. JOHNSON of South Dakota, Mr. CONRAD, and Mr. TESTER) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs


A BILL

To require a report on the establishment of a Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center or Polytrauma Network Site of the Department of Veterans Affairs in the northern Rockies or Dakotas, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Care Improvement Act of 2011'.

SEC. 2. REPORT ON ESTABLISHMENT OF A POLYTRAUMA REHABILITATION CENTER OR POLYTRAUMA NETWORK SITE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS IN THE NORTHERN ROCKIES OR DAKOTAS.

    (a) Findings- Congress makes the following findings:

      (1) The States of the northern Rockies and the Dakotas are among those States in the United States with the highest per capita rates of veterans with injuries from military service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      (2) Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has become known as one of the `signature wounds' of military service in Iraq and Afghanistan due to its high occurrence among veterans of such service.

      (3) A recent RAND Corporation study estimates that as many as 20 percent of the veterans of military service in Iraq and Afghanistan have a traumatic brain injury as a result of such service, and many of these veterans require ongoing care for mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injury.

      (4) The Department of Veterans Affairs recommends that all veterans experiencing a polytraumatic injury be referred to a Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center or a Polytrauma Network Site.

      (5) The Department of Veterans Affairs Polytrauma System of Care includes 4 Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers and 22 Polytrauma Network Sites, none of which are located in North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana, eastern Washington, or Wyoming, an area that encompasses approximately 740,000 square miles.

      (6) The vastness of this area imposes significant hardships on veterans residing in this area who require care within the Department of Veterans Affairs Polytrauma System of Care and wish to live close to home while receiving care within such system of care.

    (b) Report-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to Congress a report on the feasibility and advisability of establishing a Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center or Polytrauma Network Site for the Department of Veterans Affairs in the northern Rockies or the Dakotas. One of the locations evaluated as a potential location for the Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center or Polytrauma Network Site, as the case may be, shall be the Fort Harrison Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Lewis and Clark County, Montana.

      (2) REQUIREMENTS- The report required by this subsection shall include the following:

        (A) An assessment of the adequacy of existing Department of Veterans Affairs facilities in the northern Rockies and the Dakotas to address matters that are otherwise addressed by Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers and Polytrauma Network Sites.

        (B) A comparative assessment of the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs for individuals with traumatic brain injuries in urban areas with the effectiveness of such programs for individuals with traumatic brain injuries in rural and frontier communities.

        (C) An assessment whether the low cost of living in the northern Rockies and the Dakotas could reduce the financial stress faced by veterans receiving care for traumatic brain injury and their families and thereby improve the effectiveness of such care.

        (D) An assessment whether therapies that can prevent or remediate the development of secondary neurologic conditions related to traumatic brain injury can be interrupted by stress caused by living in an urban area.

      (3) CONSULTATION- The Secretary shall consult with appropriate State and local government agencies in the northern Rockies and the Dakotas in preparing the report required by this subsection.

END