News Releases

Delph: Bill to Expand Veterans Pilot Program Passes Senate

IDVA Promises to Seek Indiana Inclusion in New Federal Program

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 9, 2018) Senate Bill 96, authored by State Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel) recently passed out of the Senate with a 47-1 vote.

SB 96 builds upon the state’s Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) pilot program to increase the number of service providers that may administer the treatment. Providers included in this program would be exempt from any liability.

This bill removes the time restriction previously in place for a veteran to receive the treatment and also extends the end date of the pilot from 2019 to 2020. Services offered under this program would be provided as a free service to all Hoosier veterans who have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Up to five providers around the state will be selected to administer the treatment under the program, and the providers would be required to perform the services using the grant awarded to them under the bill.

“Through this program, Hoosier veterans can get the care and attention they need,” Sen. Delph said. “SB 96 would open up the pilot to all Indiana veterans. HBOT could provide the relief needed to treat veterans suffering from PTSD.”

SB 96 also requires the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA), in collaboration with the State Department of Health, to prepare a final report at the end of the pilot program and transmit the findings to the governor, legislative leaders, the Chairperson of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Public Safety and the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Military.

HBOT is a medical treatment that 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. The procedure increases oxygen in the body, under pressure, to encourage healing. Currently, HBOT is commonly used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning, divers’ sickness, enhanced healing of some wound problems, skin grafts, heat burns, crush injuries and other acute health-care issues that involve too little blood flow to a part of the body.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced in November 2017 that it will also begin a pilot program to offer HBOT as a treatment option for a small number of veterans with persistent PTSD symptoms resistant to standard options.

Sen. Delph announced he has been working with IDVA Director Jim Brown, who is actively working to get Indiana included in the new federal HBOT program.

“U.S. Veterans Affairs is now, after years of consideration, going to study the possibilities of the usefulness of HBOT for veterans,” Brown said. “I appreciate Sen. Delph’s passion for helping fellow veterans and his dedication to working on their behalf.”

Sen. Delph is chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Military.

SB 96 moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.


Click here for a high-resolution photo of Sen. Mike Delph.