Representative Mike Coffman (CO) introduced H.R. 5191, a bill directing the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish at least three Alzheimer’s disease research, education, and clinical centers within the Department.
Studies show veterans who experienced brain trauma in the course of their service are at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Likewise, veterans who experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are twice as likely as those without PTSD to develop dementia.
VA’s Geriatric and Mental Illness research, education and clinical centers have become models of innovation which synergize the worlds of research, education and patient care using evidence-based practices to develop new patient care models and clinical treatment protocols for veterans. These laboratories also often serve to recruit or retain top-flight scarce medical practitioners from leading universities who are then available to treat veterans and educate the next generation of physicians and independent practitioners receiving training within the VA. While these clinical centers conduct geriatric research and education none are focused exclusively on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia although VA does operate centers focused on Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and Multiple Sclerosis.
DAV Resolution 061 calls on VA to support integrated and effective models of care for veterans with dementia. Creating these new centers will assist VA in determining how best to meet the unique needs of service-disabled veterans with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and allow researchers and physicians to focus on developing best practices and effective treatments so that these veterans can be cared for with dignity, compassion and respect.
Please use the prepared letter and ask your Representative to cosponsor and pass H.R. 5191. Thank you for your support of America’s disabled veterans.