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North Dakota Legislature considers funding hyperbaric testing

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — A bill to fund a pilot project using hyperbaric treatment for patients with traumatic brain injuries was recently amended to move the pilot project from the Medicaid program to the North Dakota Department of Health. The bill provides $335,000 to contract with a third party to implement the pilot program.

During hyperbaric chamber treatment, a person is placed within a pressurized chamber with a high level of oxygen. The oxygen can help heal tissue.

Rep. Dick Anderson, R-Willow City, introduced the bill after seeing results at the Healing with Hyperbarics Clinic in Fargo. The clinic is operated by Dr. Daphne Denham, a general surgeon, according to its website.

Anderson said he had seen improvements in quality of life of people with brain injuries after hyperbaric treatment at the Fargo clinic.

“I’m trying to get (Denham) some help,” Anderson said. “Her protocol works.”

Anderson said the pilot program would be operated by Denham using protocols she has developed.

“We’re trying to get it funded through the state rather than federal funding,” he said. “Once we have a trial, insurance companies may cover. It’s lower cost than other care.”

Amanda Lausch, a board certified family nurse practitioner working with the Jamestown Regional Medical Center’s hyperbaric chamber, said its chamber is used for a variety of treatments, including diabetic ulcers and bone infections that don’t respond to typical treatments.