Home > NewsRelease > Hundreds of Thousands of Veterans are Dying from Diabetic Foot Ulcer Within the VHA when a Life-Saving Treatment is Available but Unused
Hundreds of Thousands of Veterans are Dying from Diabetic Foot Ulcer Within the VHA when a Life-Saving Treatment is Available but Unused
TreatNOW Coalition --  Concussion Protocol Experts TreatNOW Coalition -- Concussion Protocol Experts
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Arlington, VA
Tuesday, October 25, 2022



The Veteran Diabetic Foot Ulcer (DFU) Epidemic

Veteran Eric Koleda of the TreatNOW Coalition has released The Veteran Diabetic Foot Ulcer (DFU) Epidemic: A U.S. Department of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) Services Review.

His analysis of recent data received from Deputy Under Secretary of Health for the VA indicates more than 796,340 Veterans have died from Diabetic Foot Ulcer (DFU) and Lower Limb Amputation (LLA) in the past 22-years. This is more than all the Veterans Killed in Action in all the U.S. wars (623,982) since World War I. The current VHA DFU LLA Veteran mortality rate shows that 64-71 percent die within 3-years after LLA surgery.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has been approved by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) since 2002 for all Veterans over the age of 65. According to the recent VHA data, the average age for DFU Veterans having Lower Limb Amputations due to DFUs is 66.2 years old. All or the majority were eligible to receive CMS covered HBOT treatments as an insured treatment. The VHA data indicates over the last 20-years on average 93.7 percent of Veterans are not receiving HBOT treatments.  HBOT treatments heal on average 74 percent of the DFU cases, eliminating the need for amputations and extending patient lives.  

The Report raises several Questions: If HBOT has been approved since 2002 and Veterans are eligible to receive the insured treatments, why is the VHA delaying or denying Veterans access to treatments that will save their lives in 75% of cases? If there is even a 30 delay in referring DFU Veterans for HBOT treatments outside the VHA, it is potentially a death sentence as gangrene typically will set in the foot requiring amputation.

Further: Is the VHA informing DFU Veterans they are entitled to receive HBOT treatments? The Code of Medical Ethics is built around ensuring that both doctors and patients participate meaningfully in decisions about health care. Physicians have a responsibility to provide information and help patients understand their medical condition and options for treatment. This doctrine of informed consent seeks to ensure that doctors: tell patients of their diagnosis; those patients understand the nature and purpose of recommended interventions; and, most importantly, that patients are made aware of the burdens, risks and expected benefits of all options under the Code of Medical Ethics Opinion 2.1.1. Are VHA medical doctors informing VHA DFU Veterans about HBOT?

The VHA currently does not operate any Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy chambers in their 1,298 healthcare facilities across the entire U.S. The services are contracted to outside hospitals which maintain and operate HBOT chambers. There are an estimated 1,156 hospitals across the U.S. with HBOT chambers staffed with medically qualified, trained, and certified staffing. And there are hundreds of private clinics. Yet the VHA is only contracted with 31.5 percent of the HBOT chamber hospitals in 42 states and the District of Columbia. There are eight states without any VHA HBOT chamber services available. Why is the VHA not widely prescribing and administering a government approved, tested, safe and effective treatment for Veterans when in nearly 75% percent of the cases it is saving their lives?

Read the report :: Here ::

Key Words:  Special Operators, veterans, suicide, athletesbrain healthblast injurybrain injurybrain woundChronic Traumatic Encephalopathyconcussionconcussion protocolConcussion SymptomsCTEHBOTHyperbaric Oxygen therapyTBITBItreatmenttraumatic brain injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Robert L. Beckman. PhD
Group: TreatNOW Coalition
Dateline: Arlington, VA United States
Direct Phone: 703-346-8432
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