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New TBI, mental health center to open in June

By Karen Jowers - Staff writer, ArmyTimes
Posted : Thursday May 20, 2010 10:17:57 EDT

A new 72,000-square-foot center for treatment of service members and veterans diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions will open June 24 at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

The National Intrepid Center of Excellence, to be funded by private donations, is a project of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a nonprofit organization begun by the Fisher family for supporting service members and their families.

The family is well known in the military community for its Fisher Houses, which provide low- or no-cost lodging for families of wounded or injured service members undergoing medical treatment or rehabilitation.

Thousands of Americans have contributed to the $65 million effort, with donations ranging from a few dollars to a $3 million gift from TV personality Bob Barker. Donations also have come from corporate and nonprofit organizations.

The funds have helped build and equip the center; it will now be turned over to the Defense Department to operate.

The center is designed to provide the latest treatments for wounded warriors with traumatic brain injury and/or psychological health conditions. The center also will conduct research, test new treatments and provide comprehensive training and education to patients, providers and families.

Long-term follow-up care will be provided to ensure that “once soldiers separate from the military, they do not separate from whatever continued treatment they need,” according to an announcement from the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

Information about improvements in screening, diagnosis, and treatment will be provided to the military and Veterans Affairs Department medical facilities across the country, officials said.