Senate committee passes bill that would offer free oxygen therapy to Indiana veterans with PTSD

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FAYETTEVILLE, NC - AUGUST 04: Technician Machanda Sharp (R) uses a phone to talk with patient Wayne Tart of Clinton, North Carolina (L) as he lies in a sealed hyperbaric chamber at Cape Fear Valley Wound Care Center August 4, 2010 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The pure-oxygen environment of a hyperbaric chamber, which was recently installed for the first time at Cape Fear Valley, is used to treat a variety of ailments including chronic infections and also for promoting the healing of skin grafts. Health care providers around the country are increasingly specializing their care by creating distinct treatment centers for various disorders and acquiring the latest high-tech medical equipment. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An Indiana Senate committee has passed a bill that looks to help Indiana veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Senate Bill 454, authored by State Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel), passed out of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Military today with a vote of 9-0 Tuesday.

The bill would direct the Indiana Lottery Commission to create a scratch-off game to fund a pilot program that would provide free hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to Hoosiers who’ve served in the military.

HBOT therapy enhances the body’s natural healing process through inhalation of 100 percent oxygen in a total body chamber where atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled.

Under the bill, 40 percent of the revenue from the scratch-off game would be deposited into the Veteran’s Treatment Fund to pay for the HBOT treatment, 10 percent would go to the Veterans Service Officer Fund and another 10 percent would go to the State Lottery Commission. The remaining 40 percent would be deposited into a homeless veterans fund created by Senate Bill 517.

“Passing this bill out of committee is the next step to providing Hoosier veterans with the help they need,” Sen. Delph said. “Making sure our veterans are taken care of remains a top focus of mine.”

The bill would require the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to establish a program registry and waiting list for treatment. The ISDH would also be responsible for maintaining the pilot program.

Next, the bill will be considered by the Senate Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy.