Physical therapy comes in many different forms, and a new bill being proposed in Congress could make sure that TRICARE covers all kinds of treatment. The legislation, sponsored by a trio of lawmakers, would make sure that the popular health benefits program covers any physical therapy recommended by physicians regardless of whether it is deemed experimental, Military Times reports.
The issue came to the forefront last year when Kaitlyn Samuels, the 16-year-old daughter of Navy Capt. Mark Samuels, was denied coverage for horse therapy, which had proven to be effective at managing the symptoms of cerebral palsy. The coverage stopped after the therapy was deemed experimental, but this proposed legislation would change that restriction and open up new channels of treatments to many troops and their families.
"Our bill simply corrects discrimination and would ensure that beneficiaries receive rehabilitative therapies that are prescribed by a patient's physician and included in a patient's individualized plan of care authorized by his or her physical therapist," Congressman Michael Burgess, one of the bill's sponsors, wrote to fellow lawmakers.
Should the bill become law, it could have a far reaching impact on many servicemembers and veterans living with PTSD and other conditions. Specifically, a growing body of evidence suggests that therapy dogs can help manage PTSD symptoms by boosting levels of the hormone oxytocin, according to Smithsonian magazine.