This year's House version of the FY2011 Defense Authorization Act (HR 5136) will go to conference with two amendments addressing the problem of faulty brain injury screening in which the military has been under fire because of in recent reports.
Congresswoman Mary Fallin of Oklahoma offered an amendment to the bill that was adopted stating that no later than September 30, 2011, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, shall develop and implement a comprehensive policy on pre- and post-deployment neurocognitive assessment.
Also, assisted by BIAA and NASHIA, Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., co-chairman of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, offered a complimentary amendment that was later adopted detailing that until a comprehensive screening policy is implemented, the Defense Department must use the same cognitive screening tool for both pre-deployment and post-deployment screening in order to compare new data to previous baseline data for the purposes of detecting brain injury.
BIAA is hopeful that these provisions will remain in the bill as conference discussions continue. We will monitor the situation closely and alert grassroots advocates if any action becomes necessary.