Defense Secretary Gates Responds
The Brain Injury Association of American (BIAA) reports that Defense Secretary Gates continues to defend TRICARE’s stance on cognitive rehabilitation. On August 4, 2008 a group of Senators, led by Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Gates in an attempt to get him to ensure official TRICARE coverage of cognitive rehabilitation. However, “Secretary Gates continues to defend TRICARE’s lack of coverage of cognitive rehabilitation, maintaining that there is insufficient evidence from properly structured research protocols to establish the general acceptance of cognitive rehabilitation as a proven medical treatment.”
Specifically, Secretary Gates states, “The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs reports that while the existing evidence is supportive of cognitive rehabilitation, the rigor of the research by which that evidence was produced has not yet met the required standard.” At the same time, Secretary Gates’ letter does acknowledge that “many organizations and reviews have supported cognitive rehabilitation.”
BIAA strongly disagrees with the argument put forth by Secretary Gates that there is insufficient evidence to justify official TRICARE coverage of cognitive rehabilitation. BIAA, along with numerous congressional advocates, will continue to press this issue in the new 111th Congress next year.