Missoulian: Community Medical Center offers brain injury treatment for veterans

A reality of modern-day war is that more and more soldiers return home with traumatic brain injuries.

In a 2009 report, Pentagon officials estimated that 360,000 service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffered a brain injury during deployment, and 45,000 to 90,000 of those soldiers have lasting symptoms and need specialized rehabilitative care.

In Montana and neighboring states, the situation has been all the more problematic because until recently, war veterans who suffered traumatic brain injuries were forced to seek treatment in Veteran Affairs-sanctioned facilities thousands of miles from home.

Now, after years in the pitching and planning, Community Medical Center has signed a long-term contract with the Veterans Affairs Department to provide rehabilitative services to veterans.

“We have been trying to get our brain-injured vets served closer to home for a long time and in an environment for family and friends to offer support,” said Jeanne Elliott, director of the hospital’s Rehabilitation Institute of Montana.

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