We are facing a Veteran Diabetic Foot Ulcer (DFU) Epidemic.  Lives are being lost and limbs are being amputated at an alarming rate. The information provided here gives facts that when the foot wounds are timely and correctly diagnosed, and care is implemented immediately in accordance with the FDA, CMS, and Tricare; Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) treatments will save the limbs and lives of our Veterans.

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.

Name: Robert L. Beckman. PhD

Group: TreatNOW Coalition

Dateline: Arlington, VA United States

Direct Phone: 703-346-8432

Cited from Expert Click

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