Representative Pascrell Introduces Legislation Requiring Stronger Standards for Youth Football Helmets

Rep. Pascrell Introduces Legislation Requiring Stronger Standards for Youth Football Helmets

Bill Would Help Protect Young Athletes from Sports-Related Traumatic Brain Injuries

The Brain Injury Association of America asked me to pass this legislative update on to my readers.

WASHINGTON - U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, was joined by Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) today in introducing bipartisan legislation aimed at protecting youth athletes from the dangers of sports-related traumatic brain injuries. The Youth Sports Concussion Act of 2013 would ensure that new and reconditioned football helmets for high school and younger players meet safety standards that address concussion risk and the needs of youth athletes. The bill also increases potential penalties for using false injury prevention claims to sell helmets and other sports equipment. Companion legislation was also introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM).

"The dangers multiple concussions pose to our young athletes is well known, so it's imperative we do everything possible to protect them on the playing field," said Rep. Pascrell. "I've fought to ensure there are resources available to young athletes that sustain a brain injury, and this legislation will bring us one step closer to preventing these devastating injuries to begin with. The only thing standing between athletes and serious injury is their equipment, which is why manufactures must be held to the highest possible standard. We cannot jeopardize the health and safety of our young athletes by allowing inferior equipment into their locker rooms."

"As a father of three sons who can't wait to play tackle football, I want to do everything we can to protect young people from suffering head injuries on the field," Rooney said. "We can't completely eliminate the risks of playing youth sports, but we can make sure that helmets and other equipment meet the highest safety standards for our kids."

Although football helmet safety technology has improved since the days of leather helmets, today's helmet safety standards may not be informed by current understanding of concussion risks. For example, the current industry standard primarily protects against serious injury from a severe, direct blow. However, it does not specifically address the risk of a concussion caused by less severe impacts or by rotational acceleration resulting from hits that spin the head and brain. The standard for reconditioning used football helmets also does not specify how often old helmets must be recertified.

The Youth Sports Concussion Act of 2013 sets a deadline, nine months after enactment, for improvements by industry groups to the voluntary standard for football helmets. If that deadline is not met, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) must set mandatory football helmet standards to protect children's safety.

Sports are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury for people who are 15 to 24 years old, behind only motor vehicle crashes. Every year American athletes suffer up to an estimated 3.8 million sports-related concussions. More than one million American high school students play football, including nearly 8,000 high school students in New Mexico.

Rep. Pascrell has been raising awareness of traumatic brain injury dangers and treatments for 13 years, including the passage of his Concussion Treatment and Care Tools (ConTACT) Act, which provides for national protocols to be established for managing sports-related concussions.

In March, Rep. Pascrell hosted the 12th Annual Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill, a conference that educates Members of Congress and their staffs on the full range of effects of brain injury, the challenges and recoveries of persons living with brain injury, and the services and supports available to them.

Supporters of the Youth Sports Concussion Act of 2013 include: NFL, NFL Players Association, Major League Baseball, MLB Players Association, NBA, NHL, NCAA, Major League Soccer (MLS) Players Union, American Academy of Neurology, American Academy of Pediatrics, Brain Injury Association of America, Brain Trauma Foundation, Cleveland Clinic, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Natl. Consumers League, Safe Kids USA, Natl. Assoc. of State Head Injury Administrators, Natl. Athletic Trainers Association, Natl. Fed. of State High School Associations (NFHS), NOCSAE, US Lacrosse and US Soccer Federation.

TBI Act Reauthorization 2013

On Wednesday, March 13, 2013, the TBI Act, H.R. 1098, was introduced by Reps. Pascrell and Rooney, co-chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. This bill will reauthorize the current programs relating to TBI and also will move the state grant and protection and advocacy grant programs from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau to another agency with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The move acknowledges the impact of TBI across the age span, including older adults and returning service members/veterans. The Congressional Brain Injury Task Force recommends relocating the program to better coordinate with federal agencies regarding long-term services and supports available to individuals with other disabilities, particularly the long-term services and supports provision of the Affordable Care Act. BIAA thanks Reps. Pascrell and Rooney for introducing this important legislation. Please call your Member of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 1098 today!
 

 The Brain Injury Association of America asked me to post their legislative update for my readers.

TBI Act Reauthorization 2012

The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Act, H.R. 4238 was introduced by Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Representative Todd Russell Platts (R-PA) on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in the House of Representatives. Please call your Representative today to ask him or her to co-sponsor H.R. 4238. Specifically, BIAA would like constituents of the following members to call or email their Representative to ask them to cosponsor the bill. The Representatives listed below are members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health.

Rep. Shimkus (IL-19-R)
Rep. Myrick (NC-9-R)
Rep. Murphy (PA-18-R)
Rep. McMorris Rogers (WA-5-R)
Rep. Capps (CA-23-D)
Rep. Ross (AR-4-D)
Rep. Bono Mack (CA-45-R)
Rep. DeGette (CO-1-D)
Rep. Doyle (PA-14-D)
Rep. Eshoo (CA-14-D)

Congressional FY 2013 Budget Update

Last week, the U.S. Senate voted on five different versions of a FY 2013 federal budget without passing one of them, effectively ending the FY 2013 federal budget process for this year.

The House budget resolution provides $3.5 trillion in budget authority in fiscal 2013 and calls for limiting discretionary appropriations to $1.028 trillion. The plan is $19 billion below the $1.047 trillion spending cap set in the debt limit deal last year. The vote was very close with all Democrats and 10 Republicans voted against the measure but the legislation passed the House in the end.

In February, the President released his FY2013 budget that included programs authorized by the TBI Act, including the HRSA Federal TBI Program and the CDC’s important TBI work that were both recommended to receive level funding found in FY11 final and FY12 CR appropriations bills, $10 million for HRSA and just under $7 million for CDC. In the current fiscal climate this is good news for TBI advocates. This would indicate TBI funding is not on the chopping block when the government is looking to cut a trillion and a half dollars in federal spending.

BIAA will continue to work to ensure that legislators understand the importance of TBI programs and how they affect the 1.7 million people across the United States with brain injury.

Legislative Update June 2012

 The Brain Injury Association of America has asked me to post this legislative update:

Appropriations Update

The Senate Appropriations Committee provides $9,760,000 for the Traumatic Brain Injury program. This amount is the same as the fiscal year 2012 comparable level and the budget request.

The program supports implementation and planning grants to States for coordination and improvement of services to individuals and families with traumatic brain injuries. Such services can include: pre-hospital care, emergency department care, hospital care, rehabilitation, transitional services, education, employment, long-term support, and protection and advocacy services. The Committee includes no less than the fiscal year 2012 funding level for protection and advocacy services, as authorized under section 1305 of Public Law 106–310.

Policy Summit on Brain Injury and Juvenile Justice

BIAA’s Director of Government Affairs, Amy Colberg, attended the Virginia Collaborative Policy Summit on Brain Injury and Juvenile Justice this week in Richmond, VA. The event was organized by the BIA of Virginia and the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services. The policy summit was funded in part by a Federal Traumatic Brain Injury Implementation Partnership Grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Representatives from Minnesota, Nebraska, Utah, and Texas attended the Policy Summit to share their work with youth with brain injury in the juvenile justice system. The goal of the Policy Summit is to develop a systematic, empirically-based process for reliably indentifying brain injury; implement staff training programs; and identify effective intervention strategies and techniques. Results of the Policy Summit will be released in the fall of 2012.

TBI Act Reauthorization 2012

The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Act, H.R. 4238 was introduced by Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Representative Todd Russell Platts (R-PA) on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in the House of Representatives. Please call your Representative today to ask him or her to co-sponsor H.R. 4238. Specifically, BIAA would like constituents of the following members to call or email their Representative to ask them to cosponsor the bill. The Representatives listed below are members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health.

Rep. Shimkus (IL-19-R)
Rep. Myrick (NC-9-R)
Rep. Murphy (PA-18-R)
Rep. McMorris Rogers (WA-5-R)
Rep. Capps (CA-23-D)
Rep. Ross (AR-4-D)
Rep. Bono Mack (CA-45-R)
Rep. DeGette (CO-1-D)
Rep. Doyle (PA-14-D)
Rep. Eshoo (CA-14-D)
 

Legislation Update April 2012

 TBI Act Reauthorization 2012

The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Act, H.R. 4238 was introduced by Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Representative Todd Russell Platts (R-PA) on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in the House of Representatives. Please call your Representative today to ask him or her to co-sponsor H.R. 4238. Specifically, BIAA would like constituents of the following members to call or email their Representative to ask them to cosponsor the bill. The Representatives listed below are members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health.

Rep. Shimkus (IL-19-R)
Rep. Myrick (NC-9-R)
Rep. Murphy (PA-18-R)
Rep. McMorris Rogers (WA-5-R)
Rep. Capps (CA-23-D)
Rep. Ross (AR-4-D)
Rep. Bono Mack (CA-45-R)
Rep. DeGette (CO-1-D)
Rep. Doyle (PA-14-D)
Rep. Eshoo (CA-14-D)

The following is from the Grassroots notification of the Brain Injury Association of America:

Appropriations Update

On April 12, 2012, BIAA submitted FY13 written testimony to both the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor Health and Human Services and Related Agencies. Both letters proposed the following funding increases for TBI Act programs and the TBI Model Systems of Care Program.
$10 million (+ $4 million) for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention TBI Registries and Surveillance, Brain Injury Acute Care Guidelines, Prevention and National Public Education/Awareness
$8 million (+ $1 million) for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Federal TBI State Grant Program
$4 million (+ $1 million) for the HRSA Federal TBI Protection & Advocacy (P&A) Systems Grant Program
$11 million (+ $1.5 million) for the TBI Model Systems of Care Program, and line item status within the broader NIDRR budget

Brain Injury Association

 Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing on Accessible Technology

On Tuesday, February 7, 2012, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on accessible technology. Chairman Harkin (D-IA) spoke about how America is at a critical juncture in technological development related to education. Technology can either be used in the classroom to keep all students, including students who have sustained a TBI, on equal ground or to segregate those with disabilities by not developing accessible technology. Click here to link to the HELP Committee’s website to read testimony from the hearing.

Brain Injury Awareness Day 2012

This year, brain injury awareness day on Capitol Hill will be held on Wednesday, March 21, 2012. As in years past, there will be an awareness fair, briefing and reception. The full schedule for the day is as follows:

10:00 AM - 1:00 PM: Brain Injury Awareness Fair
First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM “Anytime, Anyone, Any Age: the Impact on Brain Injury”
Congressional Briefing; Capitol Visitor Center

5:30 PM - 7:30 PM Reception Celebrating Brain Injury Awareness Month
Location to be Announced

BIAA is committed to helping the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force plan a successful event. Stay tuned for more details including a list of speakers for the briefing.

TBI Act Reauthorization 2012

This week, BIAA’s director of government affairs, NASHIA’s lobbyist and staff representing the National Disability Rights Network met with Senator Harkin and Senator Hatch’s staff to discuss TBI Act reauthorization in 2012. BIAA will continue to work closely with other stakeholders as the reauthorization of the TBI Act moves forward.

Brain Injury Business Practice College 2012

 The Brain Injury Association is conducting its 2012 Brain Injury Business Practice College in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Registration is now open for the Brain Injury Association of America's (BIAA's) 2012 Brain Injury Business Practice College.  The 2012 conference will offer sessions on the following hot topics, among others:  

  • Business Practices and Metrics 
  • Change and Influence 
  • Business Ethics 
  • Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy 
  • Brain Injury as a Disease 
  • Health Care Reform Updates 
  • Working with Third-Party Payors

Those who attend the Business Practice College include CEOs, CFOs, COOs, sales and marketing, and human resource executives from the nation's foremost brain injury treatment, rehabilitation and community service providers.

Attendees have said:

  • "This is the #1 conference I attend all year - very helpful because of the sharing nature of the conference."
  • "Very topical info - what's new in brain injury, rehab, healthcare, Congress, CARF and more." 

Register today!

Registration for the 2012 Brain Injury Business Practice College is available through our Marketplace.  Simply click "Refine Results" at the top of the page and choose "Brain Injury Business Practice College."


The Platinum Hotel and Spa
Platinum Hotel and Spa
Las Vegas, Nevada
February 21-24, 2012

To make reservations at the Platinum, dial  the reservation office at 877-211-9211 and request the

BIAA 2012 Brain Injury Business Practice College group.

BIAA New Logo Blue and Black2012 Business College Logo 

Brain Injury Association of America Position on Definition of Traumatic Brain Injury

The Brain Injury Association of America published its position paper on the definition of traumatic brain injury entitled Conceptualizing Brain Injury as a Chronic Disease.  The organization tasked with providing legislation and lobbying for victims of traumatic brain injury, published its paper in 2009.

The gist of the paper is that traumatic brain injury is not an event but a process

 

The American Heritage Dictionary defines an event as “the final result; the outcome.” The
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines an injury as “harm or damage.” Traumatic damage to the brain was therefore seen by the industry as an “event.” A broken brain was the equivalent of a broken bone—the final outcome to an insult in an isolated body system. Once it was fixed and given some therapy, no further treatment would be necessary in the near or distant future, and certainly, there would be no effect on other organs of the body.
 
The purpose of this paper is to encourage the classification of a TBI not as an event, not as the final outcome, but rather as the beginning of a disease process. The paper presents the scientific data supporting the fact that neither an acute TBI nor a chronic TBI is a static process—that a TBI impacts multiple organ systems, is disease causative and disease accelerative, and as such, should be paid for and managed on a par with other diseases.
 
  • MORTALITY - The paper states that individuals with a TBI were twice as likely to die as a similar non-brain injured cohort and had a life expectancy reduction of seven years.
  • ETIOLOGY - There is an indirect effect on other organs from traumatic brain injury.
  • MORBIDITY - Individuals with a TBI are 1.5-17 times (depending on the severity of the TBI) more likely than the general population to develop seizures.  Chances of getting epilepsy after traumatic brain injury increase and account for 5% of all epilepsy in the general population.
  • INCONTINENCE
  • PSYCHIATRIC DISEASE
  • SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION
  • MUSCULOSKELETAL DYSFUNCTION
     

 

Brain Injury Association of Nevada

The Brain Injury Association of Nevada, a fully affiliated chapter of the Brain Injury Association of America, is up and running.

Jodi Sabal, Nevada Community Enrichment Program (NCEP) Director, is President.  NCEP is part of Nevada's Aging & Disability Services and Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation. Her efforts in getting the affiliation completed should be applauded.  I know from experience compliance with the parent organization involves many detailed steps.

In my many years of involvement with the Brain Injury Association of America and affiliated State Organizations, invitations to speak at Medical-Legal Conferences around the country, steering planning committees, and other contributions, I noted that Nevada was one of the only states without a Brain Injury Association Chapter.  I am personally excited that we now have one.  I intend to be involved.

The web site for the Brain Injury Association of Nevada can be accessed by clicking the link www.bianv.org.

The Mission of the BIANV is:

The mission of the Brain Injury Association of America, as well as BIAN, is to be the voice of brain injury. Through advocacy, education and research, we bring help, hope and healing to millions of individuals living with brain injury, their families and the professionals who serve them.

 

Brain Injury Association Legislative Update March 2011

The Brain Injury Association of America has asked me to send this update along to my readers.

Appropriations Update

 On Thursday, March 17, 2011, the Senate cleared a sixth stopgap measure set to expire on April 8, 2011. Going forward, House and Senate leaders will engage in talks to negotiate government funding for the rest of the fiscal year. BIAA is monitoring the situation closely and will alert grassroots advocates if any action becomes necessary.

 

This week, BIAA met with Senate Appropriations staff to advocate for increased funding for programs authorized through the TBI Act in 2012. BIAA will continue to follow up on this request as well as meet with the House Appropriations staff in the near future.

 

Sports and Concussion

 

On March 16, 2011, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. and Todd Russell Platts, as well as U.S. Senator Tom Udall introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at protecting youth athletes from the dangers of sports-related traumatic brain injuries. BIAA endorsed the legislation and provided technical assistance during the writing of the bill.

 

The Children’s Sports Athletic Equipment Safety Act would ensure that new and reconditioned football helmets for high school and younger players meet safety standards that address concussion risk and the needs of youth athletes. The bill also increases potential penalties for using false injury prevention claims to sell helmets and other sports equipment.

Brain Injury Association Appropriations Update March 2011

The Brain Injury Association of America and the Center for Neuro Skills and Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Centers & Specialty Hospital, request I forward this update. 

Appropriations Update

On Friday, March 11, 2011, the House Appropriations Committee will unveil a three-week continuing resolution (CR) that will extend FY10 funding through April 8, 2011. The current CR is set to expire on March 18, 2011. The bill would make some relatively non-controversial spending cuts, totaling about $6 billion dollars in savings.

BIAA is monitoring the situation closely and working with the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force to make sure that FY2011 appropriations will look favorably on brain injury programs. BIAA is also engaging with both Senate and House Appropriations Committees in preparation for FY2012 appropriations work.

Brain Injury Awareness Day 2011

This year, brain injury awareness day on Capitol Hill will be held on Wednesday, March 16, 2011. As in years past, there will be an awareness fair, briefing and reception. The full schedule for the day is as follows:

10:00 am – 1:00 pm Brain Injury Awareness Fair,
First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building

1:30 pm – 3:30 pm Briefing: Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Re-Entry: Lessons Learned and the Road Ahead
Rayburn Gold Room
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Reception Celebrating Brain Injury Awareness Month
First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building

For those who are attending, please stop by BIAA’s exhibit in the Rayburn foyer to pick up leave-behind materials for your Congressional visits!

Gabrielle Giffords Getting Care Not Typically Offered By Insurance

One of the most disconcerting realities of Traumatic Brain Injury is getting the care covered by most insurance.  What we as a nation are seeing for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is not what normally occurs.

ABC did a piece on how insurance companies deny coverage for treatiment of traumatic brain injury.  Check it out here.

While Giffords is getting top-flight care at a facility that specializes in rehabilitation after major brain injuries, many patients get nothing close to it. The fine print in many health plans -- including Medicare and Tricare, which serves U.S. military members -- excludes coverage of certain types or even complete rehabilitation for thousands of patients with traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs.

...the Brain Injury Association of America, a non-profit group that advocates on behalf of people with brain injuries, says studies have shown that cognitive rehab is very effective.

Brain Injury Association Legislative Update March 2011

This is the latest from the Brain Injury Association of America: 

BIAA Unveils 2011 Legislative Fact Sheets

This week, BIAA released it 2011 legislative fact sheets highlighting critical public policy issues for people with brain injury including access to care, research, TBI Act appropriations and reauthorization, military, and membership in the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. BIAA is excited to move forward these priorities in the 112th Congress!

Appropriations Update

On Wednesday, March 2, 2011, President Obama avoided a government shutdown by signing into law a two week extension of the current continuing resolution that was set to expire today. The measure keeps the government running through March 18, 2011.

Today, March 4, 2011, Senate Democrats released a proposal for a $6.5 billion cut from current spending levels, a modest reduction compared with the before released Republican proposal. The Senate is expected to hold a series of test votes next week on both Democratic and Republican spending plans.

BIAA will continue to monitor the situation closely and alert grassroots advocates if action becomes necessary.

Brain Injury Awareness Day 2011

This year, brain injury awareness day on Capitol Hill will be held on Wednesday, March 16, 2011. As in years past, there will be an awareness fair, briefing and reception. The full schedule for the day is as follows:

 

10:00 am – 1:00 pm   Brain Injury Awareness Fair,

                                       First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building

 

1:30 pm – 3:30 pm     Briefing: Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Re-Entry: Lessons Learned  and the Road Ahead

Location to be Determined

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm     Reception Celebrating Brain Injury Awareness Month

                                       First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building

 

BIAA is committed to helping the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force plan a successful event around the importance of rehabilitation in recovery. Look for a special edition of Policy Corner early next week detailing the speaker list for the briefing. 

Brain Injury Association Update

 The Brain Injury Association requested that I send this to my readers:

After analyzing the President’s proposed FY2012 budget, we are pleased to report that programs authorized by the TBI Act, including the HRSA Federal TBI Program and the CDC’s important TBI work have both been recommended to receive at least the same funding found in FY10 final and FY11 CR appropriations bills, $10 million for HRSA and just under $7 million for CDC.

 

The CDC collects data, links both military and civilian populations with TBI services, increases public awareness, and conducts public health research. The HRSA Federal TBI Program funds 18 states to improve systems coordination access to care for people with brain injury.

 

On another note, the budget recommends reducing the TBI Model Systems of Care Program from 16 centers to 14 centers. BIAA will address the issue with both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to ensure that Congress is aware of the importance of each center and encourage full funding for all 16 centers.

The TBI Model Systems is a collection of research centers located across the United States that conduct disability and rehabilitation research under grants administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education. They are the only source of non-proprietary longitudinal data on what happens to people with brain injury. The TBI Model Systems are a key source of evidence-based medicine, and serve as a “proving ground” for future researchers.

Health Care Reform Update from Brain Injury Association of America

 The Brain Injury Association of America asked me to post this update on this blog:

At the request of the Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department (HHS), the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is spearheading a study that will make recommendations on the criteria and methods for determining and updating the essential health benefits package, which was passed as part of the Affordable Care Act. This week, as part of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), BIAA contributed to oral testimony delivered to IOM’s Committee of the Determination of Essential Health Benefits suggesting criteria and models for the design of the rehabilitative and habilitative benefits package.

In addition, BIAA submitted written testimony specific to brain injury that emphasized a continuum of care, including rehabilitation treatment provided in a variety of settings, as medically necessary to reach optimal recovery.

BIAA will continue to assist IOM, as they move through this process, to ensure appropriate access to care for people with brain injury is achieved as health care reform regulations take shape.

Research Appropriations Update

On January 13, 2011, The Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, with help from BIAA, Ohio State University and JFK-Johnson Rehabilitation Institute, issued a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) encouraging line-item status and increased funding for the TBI Model Systems of Care program within the soon-to-be released President’s budget.

As of now, the budget is set to be released during the week of February 14, 2011. At that time, BIAA will analyze funding levels and alert grassroots advocates when appropriations action becomes necessary.

Brain Injury Awareness Day 2011

This year, brain injury awareness day on Capitol Hill will be held on Wednesday, March 16, 2011. BIAA and other stakeholders are working with the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force to develop a schedule for the day and a theme for this year’s briefing.
 

Surviving Brain Injury

Gary Prowe of Gainesville, Florida has published a book entitled Successfully Surviving a Brain Injury: A Family Guidebook, From the Emergency Room to Selecting a Rehabilitation Facility.

Susan H. Connors, the president of the Brain Injury Association of America has written the foreword to this easy-to-read guidebook, which is intended for families in the first days, weeks, and months after a brain injury. The book covers the wide range of medical, financial, legal, insurance, family, and personal issues caregivers encounter following a brain injury.

Survivors of a brain injury learn much from this book and develop a greater appreciation of what their families went through in the early days of their recovery. You can read more about Successfully Surviving a Brain Injury: A Family Guidebook at www.BrainInjurySuccess.org.  You can also purchase a copy of the book at Amazon.

Info@BrainInjurySuccess.org

Brain Injury Business Practice College 2011 Brain Injury Association of America

Traumatic Brain Injury 2011 Business Practice College

Brain Injury Association of America authorizes me to post the following upcoming event:

Register Now for BIAA's 2011 Brain Injury Business Practice College

The Brain Injury Association of America will present 2011 Brain Injury Business Practice College at The Menger Hotel in San Antonio, TX on February 22-24, 2011.

Sessions especially designed for: CEOs, COOs, Human Services & Sales/Marketing Professionals

Learn exemplary strategies to ensure access to quality health care.

The 2011 Brain Injury Business Practice College offers sessions on:

  • Process Improvement and Customer Service
  • Business Ethics
  • An Update on Health Care Reform
  • Ever-popular Case Studies

Round-Table Discussions Including:

  • Territory Management
  • Cost and Risk Management
  • Staff Development and Succession Planning

Last year's attendees said:

  • "This year's conference was terrific! Truly met (and exceeded) my expectations."
  • "I thoroughly enjoyed and learned from the Brain Injury Business Practice College. I feel that all of the information was useful and important. Networking with the competitors is so important."
  • "Great conference. Good sessions. It was fabulous."


Click here for more information.

Legislative Update September 2010

The Brain Injury Association of America authorizes this update:

Appropriations Update

This week Congress weighed the possibility of utilizing a stopgap funding measure to keep much of the government running in the new fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. However, it is not yet clear if Congress will opt to approve a stand-alone continuing resolution (CR), or to attach the measure to one of the regular spending bills.

BIAA will monitor the situation closely and continue to advocate for increased funding for brain injury programs in Fiscal Year 2011.

Health Care Reform Update

On August 27, 2010, BIAA, as part of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor regarding the health care reform law implementation of Preexisting Condition Exclusions, Lifetime and Annual Limits, Rescissions, and Patient Protections, (otherwise known as the Patients’ Bill of Rights). 

CCD detailed support of the many patient protections outlined in the proposed regulation and also suggested some language that would strengthen patients’ rights further. For full viewing, a copy of the document can be found on our Web site.

Veterans’ Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitative Services Improvements Act

On September 17, 2010, BIAA officially endorsed The Veterans’ Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitative Services Improvements Act of 2010 (HR6123) which was introduced by Congressman Tim Walz and includes Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., co-chairman of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, as a co-signer. The bill ensures wounded warriors suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) receive a more comprehensive and holistic rehabilitation plan that is focused not only on physical restoration but also on mental health, independence, and quality of life.  

Additionally, the legislation would aid veterans in maintaining the gains they have made in rehabilitation programs by requiring the VA to develop rehabilitation plans that stress restoration and maintenance of functioning rather than simply restoration. Both BIAA and our partners at the Wounded Warrior Project as well as several other veterans’ groups have endorsed the measure and BIAA is advocating for additional co-sponsors and consideration by the Veterans’ Affairs Committee this fall.

ConTACT Act

  

On September 8, 2010, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health held a field hearing regarding the ConTACT Act (HR 1347) in Newark, NJ entitled “Protecting School-aged Athletes from Sports-related Concussion Injury.” The Brain Injury Association of New Jersey (BIANJ) testified on BIAA’s behalf about their experiences in New Jersey including their proposed state legislation, opinions on how the ConTACT Act could be modified to reflect the current situation in states across the country, and why it is important to continue the push towards protecting student athletes from second impact syndrome.

 

On September 16, 2010, the Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee voted to approve the ConTACT Act and send it on to full committee consideration. The subcommittee adopted several changes to the legislation suggested by BIAA including ensuring that the measure works in concert with state legislative efforts, providing that any type of cognitive tests, not just computerized tests, be eligible to receive state grants under the baseline testing provision, and encouraging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work with BIA state affiliates and other relevant organizations during the law’s implementation period.

 

BIAA continues to work alongside the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the House Education Committee and both Congressman Pascrell and Platts to move the ConTACT Act and its companions through the full committees and on to the House floor. Full Energy and Commerce Committee consideration is expected to take place next week. BIAA will monitor the situation closely and alert grassroots advocates if action becomes necessary.

 

 

State Medicaid Funding

 

 

In August, Congress approved a $26.1 billion state-aid package (HR 1586) that extends enhanced federal Medicaid funding to states through June, 2011. The enhanced funding was originally authorized by the economic stimulus law and, as a result, bolstered the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) through Dec. 31, 2010.

 

Because December is halfway through the fiscal year for states and a discontinuation in December would cause serious state budget shortfalls, BIAA, its chartered state affiliates, BIAA’s grassroots network and the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA) advocated strongly to ensure that the enhanced funding would be extended through June, 2011. The extension is a major victory for the brain injury community as Congress struggled for several months to find a way to procure funding offsets in order to approve this measure.

 

 

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Long-term Plan

 

During the August recess, as a follow up to a meeting held on June 15, 2010, representatives from HRSA and various TBI stakeholders held a teleconference to plan work on a long-term plan for the Federal TBI Program and also to discuss possible changes to the TBI Act come reauthorization in 2012. 

 

HRSA, BIAA and the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA) have begun to assemble an advisory board to work on the long-term plan and to also manage and incorporate public comment and transparency. BIAA is encouraged by the partnership forged between TBI stakeholders and HRSA and is looking forward to elevating the Federal TBI Program within HRSA and to advocating for increased funding for the program by leveraging agency cooperation in program improvement and efficiency on Capitol Hill.

Latest Update from BIAA

This is the latest as reported by the Brain Injury Association of America:

Federal TBI Program Update

On June 15, 2010, BIAA and other TBI stakeholders met with Mary Wakefield, the Administrator of Health and Human Service’s (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to discuss the future of the federal TBI program, one of the programs funded through the TBI Act. The federal TBI program provides grants to states to improve access to care for people with brain injury. 

 

The meeting was very positive and both the TBI stakeholders and HRSA are committed to working together to bring the attention needed to the program in order to grow the program and receive more funding for the TBI population in each state. HRSA has committed to working with stakeholders going forward to craft a strategic plan for the program and solicit public comment from appropriate entities such as BIAA state affiliates and state lead agencies in order to ensure that elevation of the program is successful.

 

BIAA is encouraged by the partnership forged between TBI stakeholders and HRSA and will continue to pass on important information as efforts progress.

 

FMAP Update

Last week, Senate Democrats came four votes short of invoking cloture on the tax extenders bill that includes the extension of increased federal Medicaid monies through June, 2011. After passing a Medicare physicians’ payment bill on its own instead of as a part of the larger extender package, Senator Max Baucus is encouraged that the larger bill still has the support and momentum needed for approval. The bill is expected to be considered in the Senate this week. 

 

BIAA will continue to monitor the situation closely. If you haven’t taken action on this alert, it’s not too late!

 

Health Care Reform Update

 

Last week, the Health and Human Services (HHS) department asked for public comments regarding their draft strategic framework on multiple chronic conditions (MCC). The framework addresses approaches to improving the health of individuals with concurrent MCC by providing options for HHS to strengthen coordination of its efforts internally and collaboration with stakeholders externally.

 

BIAA submitted a document detailing the concern that the draft framework does not include TBI in the list of conditions that constitute concurrent multiple chronic conditions. BIAA argued that because brain injury has been linked to epilepsy, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and that individuals with brain injury manifest neurologic, neuroendocrine and psychiatric disorders as well as cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, urologic and sexual dysfunction it absolutely should be addressed in the framework.

The Brain Injury Association of America posts the following update:

Tell your Senators to Extend Extra Medicaid Funding Through June 2011!

It is important that all grassroots advocates unite to support the extension of the current elevated Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) that is currently being debated in the Senate and will be very important to states come the end of this year!

Originally, both the House and the Senate acted to extend the extra match through June 2011, the end of the fiscal year for states. However, the offsets that were supposed to pay for this extension went instead to help pay for the health care reform legislation. Without an extension, the money will run out Dec. 31, 2010, and many states will be forced to make drastic cuts to the federal-state program. The 2009 federal stimulus package provided $87 billion to increase the federal share of the program through December (it included a 6.2% increase of the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) under Medicaid).

Last week, House Democrats debated HR 4213, the vehicle for this extension and chose to remove the provision extending extra federal Medicaid funding. With states in fiscal peril due to the recession and unemployment, it is vital that the extra federal funding continues in order to keep health care accessible for many brain injury patients and caregivers!
 

Legislative Update May 21 2010

BIAA continues providing updates at the legislative level.

CDC Forms Disability and Health Work Group

 

Largely due to the advocacy of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Coalition (DRRC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that they will form the first Disability and Health Work Group to advance the health of people with disabilities.  With cross-agency representation, the work group will focus on incorporating disability status into CDC surveys, showcasing best practices, and ensuring relevant issues for people with disabilities are reflected in CDC programs and policies.

 

BIAA is pleased that these issues will be elevated within the CDC and will offer any assistance needed to further the group’s efforts.

 

 House Education and Labor Committee Holds Sports and Concussion Hearing

 

On May 20, 2010, The House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing to investigate the impact of concussions on student athletes and their academic performance. BIAA was contacted by the Committee early in the planning stages for general guidance of the issue including expertise regarding appropriate witnesses.

 

In conjunction with the hearing, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report was released finding that concussions in high school athletes are widely unreported and under-diagnosed suggesting a gross underestimate of the overall national occurrence of concussion in high school sports.

BIAA Legislative Update May 2010

BIAA reports the following"

BIAA Endorses the Christopher Bryski Student Loan Protection Act

This week, BIAA joined Congressman John Adler in support of a bill that would ensure a method be in place when applying for Federal or Private student loans to designate who will make decisions on your behalf regarding all medical, financial, and legal matters in the event you are catastrophically ill, catastrophically injured, temporarily disabled, permanently disabled or deceased. 

On June 17, 2004, 23 year old Christopher Bryski fell forty five feet to the ground in a recreational accident. He sustained a severe Traumatic Brain Injury and was in a coma for approximately 4 weeks. After emerging from the coma Christopher remained in a persistent vegetative state for almost two years before passing away on July 16, 2006.

At the time of Christopher’s accident, he was in his third year of academic study at Rutgers University and needed to supplement his federal student loans with a private alternative education loan through a private lender, in which his father was a co-signer and is still liable after his death for the amount of the loan.

The bill introduced by Congressman Adler would address this important issue for parents and caregivers in the following ways:

Any private educational lender (i.e Citibank, Wells Fargo, Chase, PNC, etc.) shall:

·         Discuss with the student and the cosigner of the loan the benefits of creating a power of attorney, in the event of the death of incapacity of the student or cosigner

 

·         Define clearly and concisely the obligations of the cosigner, including the effect of death or incapacity of the student or cosigner

 

·         Discuss with the student and the cosigner the benefit of credit insurance in connection with the loan, however the private educational lender may not require credit insurance or deny a loan on the basis that the borrower or any cosigner has not obtained credit insurance

 

·         Gives power to the Federal Reserve to define death or incapacity in conjunction with the Secretary of Education and institute standards regarding the borrower’s or cosigner’s obligation if the borrower or cosigner were to die or become incapacitated

 

·         Federal PLUS Loans and Federal Consolidation Loans:

 

·         Discuss with the prospective borrower the uses and benefits of creating a durable power of attorney in the event of the death or incapacity of the borrower or the student on whose behalf the loan is borrowed by the parent borrower

 

·         Amends Entrance Counseling requirements for Federal Loans:

 

·         Provide information during entrance counseling that describes the loan discharge rules in the case of death of disability, and the possibility that private loans may not be discharged upon death or disability

 

·         Provide information with respect to creating a durable power of attorney and its benefits and uses

 

BIAA applauds Representative Adler for his commitment to this important issue and will continue to monitor the status of the bill and advocate on its behalf.

Legislative Update April 2010

The Brain Injury Association of America continues to update us:

On Thursday, April 22, 2010, the Senate cleared an omnibus veterans’ health care measure that provides important assistance to both veterans and caregivers. S. 1963, as modified by the House, includes nearly $1.6 billion in authorizations for programs designed to aid caregivers of eligible veterans.

 

The measure, which now goes to the White House for President Obama’s signature, is intended to strengthen the health care support system for veterans and to expand services in rural areas. The measure will also expand caregiver programs, making them eligible for training and education assistance.

 

The bill also authorizes VA hospitals to contract with non-VA providers, as stated in the bill:

“The Secretary may contract with appropriate entities to provide specialized residential care and rehabilitation services to a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom who the Secretary determines suffers from a traumatic brain injury…”

 

Both BIAA and the Wounded Warrior Project have long advocated for approval of this measure and yesterday’s final passage signified a great victory for service members who suffer from TBI and their families.

 

Health Care Reform Update

After several weeks of delving into the final text of the health care reform bill, our partners at Powers, Pyles, Sutter & Verville, PC, sponsored by BIAA’s Business and Professional Council, have prepared an analysis of the major provisions that impact our community.

The New Deal for 2010!

FDR's New Deal gets a facelift in 2010.  Health Care reform has arrived.  And in the words of the Vice President, It is "a big f------g deal!"

The Brain Injury Association of America posts the following:

Coverage

·         Prohibits private health insurance exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

·         Eliminates annual and lifetime insurance limits or "caps" in private insurance policies.

·         Restricts the consideration of health status in setting premiums.

Benefits

·         Ensures that minimum covered benefits include products and services that enable people with brain injury to maintain and improve function, such as rehabilitation and habilitative services and devices. BIAA, along with our Business and Professional Council, and assisted by Powers, Pyles, Sutter & Verville, PC was the driving force in ensuring that rehabilitation was listed as a minimum benefit in this bill. Originally, when the bill was made public, rehabilitation was not listed as a minimum benefit.

Long Term Services and Supports

  • The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act creates a national long term services insurance program which assists eligible individuals and their families to meet long term needs with a cash benefit and without forcing them into poverty to receive Medicaid benefits.
  • The Community First Choice Option helps to eliminate institutional bias by encouraging  states to cover personal attendant services under the state’s optional service plan instead of through the waiver system by offering a 6% increase in the federal share of Medicaid for these services.

It is also important to note that, as part of the debate, Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., co-chairman of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, submitted a statement for the record detailing his understanding of the intent of the bill with regards to coverage of the treatment continuum for people with brain injury. BIAA thanks him for his hard work and dedication to this important issue.

Along with passing the Senate bill, House Democrats also approved a reconciliation bill that reflects negotiations reached by congressional Democrats and the White House to modify the version earlier passed by the Senate. This would be a “fix” that would eliminate the special deals given to certain states in return for Senate votes as the bill was passed by the Senate in December.

The Senate is expected to take up the bill as early as Tuesday under special budget reconciliation rules that will shield it from filibusters. BIAA will continue to monitor the situation closely as consideration concludes. 

 

Finally, BIAA would like to recognize the grassroots advocates that have truly made a difference in advocating for this historic legislation. Thank you to everyone who invested so much of their time to push this forward!

Urgent Brain Injury Health Care Reform

Brain Injury Association of America notes The House of Representatives is set to vote on the Senate health care reform bill at the end of this week.

Call Your Representative NOW – The House will Vote on Health Care Reform this Week!

 

The House of Representatives is set to vote on the Senate health care reform bill at the end of this week. If the measure fails, the hope of health care reform will likely vanish for this year and maybe even for years to come.

 

Even though the House and Senate have both passed their versions of health care reform, the only way forward for the bill is for the House to approve the Senate version.

 

Your voice matters now more than ever. Call TOLL FREE 1-888-876-6242, if you don’t know who your representative is, click here.

 

Tell your representative that you are a constituent that is concerned about health care reform.  Specifically, people that have sustained brain injuries need health care reform because:

  • Millions with health insurance are now at the mercy of insurance companies that charge premiums beyond affordability.  The legislation would limit these increases.
  • Many with insurance find that it won't cover them when they get sick - even after they have paid premiums for years.  The legislation will ban denials based on pre-existing conditions in children and adults.
  • Patients who reach their lifetime insurance cap after a catastrophic injury or illness will be able to continue treatment in order to regain functionality and have a better chance of returning to work or school.  The bill will eliminate lifetime insurance limits.

AND...

 

Investing money now will save the government millions of dollars later when the private insurance companies are required to take responsibility for the premiums they collect instead of turning individuals facing catastrophic injury or illness away to rely on public plans and ultimately, the American taxpayers.

 

Some representatives in the House are debating on whether to vote for or against the bill. Regardless of how they voted in the past, many are still waying their options.  This measure is vital to the brain injury community, and we need your help to ensure that people with brain injury gain access to the care that they need and deserve!  CALL NOW!

Brain Injury Association of America Legislative Update

BIAA Unveils 2010 Legislative Fact Sheets

On March 3, 2010, BIAA made available its 2010 legislative fact sheets. The fact sheets outline the agenda for this year including, access to care for both civilian and military populations, TBI Act and research funding, TBI Act reauthorization, caregiver assistance, and support for the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force is now available on our home page!

Brain Injury Awareness Day 2010

Don’t forget that this year’s Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill is set to take place on March, 17, 2010. 

Below is the schedule of events for the day:

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM - Brain Injury Awareness Fair, First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM - Briefing: “From the Playground to the Pros: A Heads-Up on

Concussion”, Capitol Visitors Center – Congressional Meeting Room South

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM - Reception Celebrating Brain Injury Awareness Month, First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building

Hope to see you there!

Health Care Reform Update

House leaders this week prepared a schedule to bring health care reform to a vote before Congress adjourns for its two-week spring recess, which begins on March 26, 2010. BIAA continues to advocate for provisions important to the brain injury community and will alert grassroots advocates if action is necessary.

BIAA

The Brain Injury Association of America has long been a leading advocate for victims of brain injury.  I have been fortunate over the past few years to serve on the executive planning committee for the annual Brain Injury Conference in Las Vegas.  The BIAA's mission is to educate.  In that context, the BIAA offers plaintiff and defense lawyers education into the realities and truths of brain injury from both sides of the aisle, so to speak.

The conference is but one tool used by the BIAA in Creating a better future through brain injury prevention, research, education and advocacy.

Founded in 1980, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is the leading national organization serving and representing individuals, families and professionals who are touched by a life-altering, often devastating, traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Together with its network of more than 40 chartered state affiliates, as well as hundreds of local chapters and support groups across the country, the BIAA provides information, education and support to assist the 3.17 million Americans currently living with traumatic brain injury and their families.
 

 www.BIAA.org 

Attorney's Getting Educated About TBI and Related Disorders

The sad fact is that most attorneys, even those holding themselves out as "personal injury" lawyers, do not have the skill or knowledge to appreciate and handle traumatic brain injury cases.

The good news is that as neuroscience and neurolaw advance, many more attorneys are getting education they need to handle these matters.  This is due, in large part, to the work of the Brain Injury Association of America, North American Brain Injury Society, state and other organizations holding continuing education conferences.

I came across an interesting article that had this to say:

An increasing number of Attorneys specializing in Traumatic Brain Injury arising out of motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, closed head trauma, and blunt head trauma are becoming aware of the concurrent hormonal deficiencies that impede rehabilitation by their affect on psychological, physiological, and physical functioning (see also Heart Attack).

Many are receiving additional training in the area of Interventional Endocrinology to give them the advantage of understanding that head trauma has a two-phase insult on the body. The first: an acute phase, is associated with the gross manifestations of the injury (loss of consciousness, amnesia, cognitive impairment, fatigue, mood changes, and structural damage to the brain) and a second: the delayed phase, leading to progressive loss of one or more hormones within 3 months of the injury. Many times, the first phase is so subtle that the recognition of the second phase is significantly delayed or ignored.

The trauma can be mild, moderate, or severe and still cause the brain's ability to regulate important, life-maintaining, hormones to fail.

Read more here.

So lets keep up the good work!

 

BIAA Legislative Update April 2008-2

After legislation to reauthorize the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Act successfully passed by Congress last week, the bill still needs to be considered by the President for his signature into law. The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) anticipates this consideration will occur in the very near future.

This week saw major activity occur on H.R. 5613, legislation recently introduced which would place a moratorium until March 2009 on seven Medicaid regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. On Wednesday, the bill was unanimously approved by the full House Energy and Commerce Committee, setting up a potential veto showdown with the White House. BIAA has strongly endorsed this legislation and submitted an official letter of endorsement to the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Dingell (D-MI) and Rep. Murphy (R-PA), last week.


Also this week, The Rand Corporation published an important comprehensive study of the mental health and cognitive needs of U.S. servicemembers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. This groundbreaking study - which focuses specifically on the post-deployment health-related needs and economic costs associated with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression and TBI - estimates that 320,000 servicemembers may have experienced TBI as a result of recent combat operations.