New Legislation Will Increase Access to Military Sexual Assault Treatment

Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program Applauds Bipartisan Support for Legislation

Last week, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and David Perdue (R-GA), and Representatives Steve Knight (R-CA) and Niki Tsongas (D-MA), members of the Armed Services Committee, introduced language in the Senate and House respectively, that would provide comprehensive care for military sexual trauma survivors. The Sexual Trauma Response and Treatment (START) Act – S. 2805 in the Senate and H.R. 5707 in the House – proposes to establish a pilot program within the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide intensive outpatient programs to military service members who suffer from post-traumatic stress related to military sexual trauma (MST).

Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program, is among organizations supporting the bill, which comes just days after the DoD released its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military. Data from the 2017 DoD reports that the military services received 6,769 reports of sexual assault involving service members – a nearly 10% increase overall from the previous year. Numbers that retired Brigadier General Jack Hammond, Executive Director for Home Base, says prove the importance of this legislation.

“It’s a remarkable accomplishment and we applaud Senators Warren and Perdue and Representatives Knight and Tsongas for their swift action to introduce this bill,” says Hammond. “The invisible wounds that our injured warriors struggle with every day have devastating long-term consequences on their health, yet too often they have difficulty seeking and getting timely and effective care for these conditions. Through the establishment of this bill, we can guarantee our Service Members and Veterans across the country receive the best possible care to recover, heal, and move forward with their lives; I am so proud of our state for leading the way on the proper treatment of our veterans.”

Based out of Massachusetts, Home Base is the largest private-sector clinic in the country treating the invisible wounds of war, including post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety and co-occurring substance use disorders. In 2016, Home Base became a founding member of the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) Warrior Care Network (WCN) – a national health system consisting of four regional academic medical research hospitals located throughout the United States. Recognizing that stigma and treatment barriers prevent many male and female MST survivors to receive the care they need, the WCN provides care, travel and accommodations at no cost for veterans and their families from across the country. Treatment consists of intensive outpatient care, mainly focusing on post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.

“In addition to driving clinically significant decreases in post-traumatic stress symptoms, WCN’s intensive outpatient programs also foster a substantially higher rate of completion (95 percent) by patients when compared to more typical mental health services (35 to 50 percent dropout rate),” WWP cited in their support letter for the legislation.

“Home Base looks forward to working with this bipartisan team to guarantee that our Military’s survivors of MST receive the treatment and care they deserve.”

Home Base’s formal letter of support for the START Act can be viewed here.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about Home Base’s clinical and support services, please contact the Home Base clinic at (617) 724-5202 or Connect to Care here