Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News

Brain Injury Year End Legislative Update

The following year end legislative update was prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA)

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

Administration for Community Living (ACL)

The appropriations bill includes a new general provision to support the transfer of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), Independent Living, and Assistive Technology Act programs to the ACL in accordance with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which was signed into law in July.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Funding was reduced to $9.3 million (down $23,000) for the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) program that funds grants to states to increase access to service delivery and to state Protection & Advocacy (P&A) Systems to provide advocacy assistance to individuals with TBI.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH received a little over $30 billion. Several institutes received support in connection with the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative.

Congress noted that Comprehensive Rehabilitation Research Centers serve a high volume of Medicare and Medicaid patients with brain injury, strokes, multiple traumas, and wartime injuries. They included language to urge HHS to evaluate the current prospective payment rate with the goal of maintaining these centers of excellence and continuing the high quality of care provided by these centers.

The bill encourages HHS to investigate the development of new and better standards for testing sports equipment to ensure that athletes have state-of-the-art gear that significantly reduces sports-related brain injuries.

The NIH Rehabilitation Coordinating Committee (NIH RCC) was directed to host a trans-NIH State of the Science Conference on Medical Rehabilitation Research to develop and regularly update a trans-NIH plan for medical rehabilitation science and to better coordinate the grants to adhere to the definition of rehabilitation research recommended by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Medical Rehabilitation Research. BIAA has been a longtime supporter of legislative efforts to enhance the stature and visibility of medical rehabilitation research at NIH.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The bill includes $170 million for Injury Prevention and Control activities, including $6.6 million for TBI and $28.9 million for injury prevention activities.

Medicare Payment Advisory Board (MedPAC)

Current law requires that MedPAC be comprised of a mix of individuals with expertise in the financing and delivery of health care services and have a broad geographic representation. These include, but are not limited to, people with rural backgrounds and experience. The Government Accountability Office is directed to continue to follow the statute when making appointments to MedPAC.

Department of Education:

Rehabilitation - Client  Assistance Program

The bill includes $1 million in increased funding for Client Assistance State Grants to help people with disabilities obtain competitive, integrated employment through advocacy and the enforcement of their rights under the Rehabilitation Act.

Higher Education

The bill includes $2.5 million for a National Center for Information and Technical Support for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities and $11.8 million for the Model Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID).

Social Security Administration (SSA):

The bill includes $35 million for a disability early intervention initiative as part of the research and demonstration budget. This demonstration project will test innovative and evidence-based approaches to help individuals with disabilities who are not yet receiving Social Security disability benefit remain in the workforce. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is directed to work closely with the Departments of Labor, Education, HHS, and other agencies as appropriate to develop and administer the project, including determining the appropriate target population and the types of interventions or services to be tested. SSA is also to ensure that participation in any demonstration is voluntary and that individuals are not required to waive any of their rights under the Social Security Act.

Veterans TBI Care Improvement Act

The Senate also passed H.R. 4276, the Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Care Improvement Act, which amends the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. The act makes changes to the 2008 Assisted-Living for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (AL-TBI) pilot program to place veterans with these severe injuries in residential living programs. Among the provisions, the legislation replaces references to "assisted living" with the term "community-based brain injury residential rehabilitative care."

Provisions were included to alter the reporting requirements under the pilot program to assess the effectiveness of providing assistance to eligible veterans with TBI to enhance their rehabilitation, quality of life, and community integration. In accordance with the legislation, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs is to submit reports to the congressional veterans committees on the pilot program for each quarter occurring between Jan. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2017, with regard to:

•         the number of individuals who participated in the pilot program;

•         the number of individuals who successfully completed the program;

•         the degree to which pilot program participants and their family members were satisfied with the program; and

•         the interim findings and conclusions of the Secretary regarding the success of the program and recommendations for improving it.

Roughly 200 veterans have participated in the program since its inception. In August, Congress extended the AL-TBI program until 2017. BIAA has championed this program from the onset and has worked to continue its funding and viability.

ABLE Act

On Dec. 16, the Senate passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act and sent to the president for his signature. The ABLE Act allows for the creations of tax-exempt savings accounts for people born with disabilities or who are diagnosed with a disability by the age of 26. Families may set up accounts and deposit as much as $14,000 per year to pay for services that include transportation, health care, and other long term needs. Accounts can accrue up to $100,000 without impact on eligibility for government benefits, such as Social Security and Medicaid.

December 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury Events, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Medicare and Medicaid Information

Introduction to Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income following a Brain Injury--New Webinar

The Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey will be hosting a webinar intended to be an introduction to issues surrounding social security eligibility for brain injury victims. ersey

Date: Wednesday, January 14, 2015; 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

The New Jersey Brain Injury Alliance has described the content of this webinar as appropriate for nurses, parents, caregivers, or anyone who has sustained a brain injury.

According to the brain injury alliance, participants will learn:

* A short description of SSDI v. SSI,

* Preparing to Apply – what documentation is needed, specifically for brain injury,

* Submitting your application,

* And navigating the appeals process

 You can obtain further information regarding registration by clicking here.

 

December 12, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Broadcasts, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law

Proposed NFL settlement a bad deal for players, says attorney specializing in brain injury

Listen to my interview on The Pulse discussing the unfairness of the NFL Settlement.

November 20, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law

The NFL Settlement Hearing-We have some problems Houston

When Judge Brody , 15 minutes into the initial presentation of the terms of the settlement and why it was such a good deal interrupted that attorney for the NFL to ask what he meant when he used the term, “TBI” I knew that the 20,000 players who this settlement was supposed to be about were in big time trouble.

I can go on and on about how disgusted I was in listening to the class action attorneys describe what a great job they did and what a terrible case this was except I have to pause to ask the question, if it was such a bad case why was the NFL willing to cough up close to a billion dollars?

In the end, I am saddened to say that this settlement will be approved and the odds of ever getting to the truth of what the NFL knew and when they knew it will never be revealed.

You can read more of my thoughts  Brain Injury Attorney Slams Settlement

November 20, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury Lawyers and Law

New York Personal Injury Lawyer Shana De Caro Inducted as Fellow--Litigation Counsel of America

Congratulations to my partner, Shana De Caro for her induction on October 9th as a fellow of The Litigation Counsel of America. (LCA)

LCA is a trial lawyer honorary society composed of elite trial and appellate lawyers throughout North America.  Fellowship election into this honorary society is highly selective.  

Shana was also elected this year to be the Chair of the Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Shana’s legal practice consists of representing individual’s seriously injured as a result of automobile, bus and truck collisions, injuries that take place as a result of hazardous construction sites, unsafe buildings or as a result of medical negligence and hospital malpractice.    More information can be obtained at our website, BrainLaw.

October 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News

Help Elevate Rehabilitation Research at the National Institutes of Health--Brain Injury Association of America Legislative Action Alert

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has issued the following action alert today regarding important rehabilitation legislation that is pending in the United States Senate:

•         S. 1027 is designed to enhance the stature of rehabilitation and disability research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

•         S. 1027 is bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), two individuals who know first-hand the impact that quality rehabilitation services can have on one's ability to regain health, function independently, and return to work, following an illness, injury, disability or chronic condition.

•         S. 1027 was introduced in 2013 and the bill seeks to elevate the stature of rehabilitation science, better coordinate the $300 million spent annually on this type of research, and deliver the maximum return on the federal investment. The bill is expected to be budget neutral.

•         This legislation is important to the brain injury community. It is critical to maximize the outcomes of rehabilitation and disability science in order to translate findings into better treatments for individuals with brain injury. 

•         Please join your colleagues, Sens. Kirk, Hatch, Murkowski and Johnson and cosponsor S. 1027.

Please call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and you will be connected to your Senators Office. Please tell the staff you are a constituent, ask to speak to the Health staffer and please use the above talking points.

 

 

Specifically, BIAA is asking the following Democratic Members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to cosponsor this important legislation.

 

 

Democratic Members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee:

 

 

Barbara A. Mikulski (Maryland)

Patty Murray (Washington)

Bernard Sanders (Vermont)

Robert P. Casey (PA)

Kay R. Hagan (NC)

Al Franken (Minnesota)

Michael F. Bennet (Colorado)

Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island)

Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin)

Christopher S. Murphy (Connecticut)

Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts)

October 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News, Current Affairs

Brain Injury Association of America files motion in federal court disputing the terms of NFL settlement

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) filed a motion today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking permission to appear as a friend of the court )amicus curiae to explain concerns it has with the proposed NFL brain injury settlement..

Similar to concerns raised by my partner, Shana De Caro who chairs the American Association for Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Group and myself in our numerous op-ed pieces that have appeared on the Huffington Post and in the National Law Journal,  the Brain Injury Association believes that the settlement unfairly discriminates among different groups of players and fails to provide any compensation to the majority of NFL players who sustained life altering traumatic brain injuries as a result of playing professional football.

Following are some of the areas of concern noted in the affidavit filed in support of the motion to intervene:

•The settlement excludes numerous physical and behavioral consequences of brain injury from the list of qualifying diagnoses for treatment and compensation. A concussion results in a wide range of neurological, physical, cognitive, and neuropsychological impairments that can appear immediately or many years after injury, requiring specialized treatment on an ongoing or intermittent basis.

•The approach to diagnosing impairment is “deeply flawed” and will exclude many former players from receiving compensation. The determination of eligibility is heavily weighted towards those with severe memory dysfunction and/or evidence of neuromuscular abnormality. If a player has impairment in language or visual function, but not in executive function, learning or memory, he will not qualify.

•The downward adjustment of compensation based on the number of seasons played, the age of the player at the time of diagnosis, and incidence of stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI) prior to being admitted to the class, demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of concussion and mild TBI. A single concussion, whether diagnosed or not, can result in debilitating physical, cognitive, and behavioral impairments that interfere with the activities of daily living and require a lifetime of treatment. Therefore, the nature and extent of the impairment – not the number of seasons played – should be the determining factor in any monetary award.

•The limitation of pharmacy vendors to mail order pharmacies. Some medications require distribution that controls for temperature, light, vibration, and other conditions and cannot be reliably distributed by mail order.  In addition, use of mail order prevents a physician from making quick and immediate medication changes.

 •The BAP Supplemental Benefits program fails to recognize the full extent of the treatment team that may be required. The standard of care for patients with TBI dictates that rehabilitation and other medical treatment plans are developed and carried out by a multi-disciplinary team of licensed, credentialed clinicians working in specialized settings and accredited programs. These include endocrinology, physical medicine, ophthalmology, neuro-optometry, otolaryngology, psychiatry, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, and neurobehavioral therapy, among others.

 Copies of the motion and affidavit filed by BIAA can be obtained on their website.

 

September 30, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Current Affairs

Delaware bus crash--Safety should be number 1 priority

Yesterday’s horrific bus crash in Delaware highlights the need for better enforcement of safety regulations against bus companies and their drivers involved in interstate bus travel.

I was honored to be interviewed yesterday by NBC News about this bus rollover accident which caused two deaths and many severe injuries to the bus occupants.  Click here for news story about this fatal bus crash in Delaware

As a member of the interstate bus accident advisory board of the American Association for Justice Interstate Bus Accident Litigation Group, our law firm has handled many cases against bus companies resulting in severe injury and death caused by negligent bus drivers and negligent bus companies. 

According to published reports the tour bus company, AM USA Express of Chinatown, New York, had been stopped by federal agents for inspections 30 times since August 2012, and had been cited for 18 safety violations during that period. The most recent of these inspections, on July 23, resulted in two citations for driving the bus in excess of permitted time rules.

 

Interstate Bus Accidents are a leading cause of death and serious injury on our nation’s roads and highways.  Thousands of injuries are caused every year due to negligent driving of bus drivers, the failure of bus companies to properly train and supervise their bus drivers, and bus companies’ faulty inspection and maintenance of their fleets. Hundreds of needless deaths are caused by driver error and the poor bus company safety records. Recent deadly bus accidents in New York highlight the urgent need for more state and federal oversight of bus drivers and bus companies.

 

Bus occupants have a right to expect that a bus driver is properly trained and licensed, well-rested and capable of operating a bus in in a manner so as to protect the safety of all passengers. Passengers, and the public at large, have right to expect that buses are properly inspected and designed, and that all parts of the bus are properly maintained. 

 

When bus accidents occur due to driver error or fatigue, due to improper and unsafe bus maintenance, including defects in the bus or its tires, or a company’s failure to supervise and train its drivers, the victims of these disasters should be able to obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries.

 

September 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury Latest Medical News, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News, Brain Injury Prevention

FDA Warning: No dietary supplements approved to treat concussions or other brain injury.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning that there are no approved dietary supplements to treat a concussions or other types of brain injury.

Can a Dietary Supplement Treat a Concussion? No! 

The concussion supplement warning published by the FDA is published in full below:

Exploiting the public's rising concern about concussions, some companies are offering untested, unproven and possibly dangerous products that claim to prevent, treat or cure concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is monitoring the marketplace and taking enforcement actions where appropriate, issuing warning letters to firms—the usual first step for dealing with claims that products labeled as dietary supplements are intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. The agency is also warning consumers to avoid purported dietary supplements marketed with claims to prevent, treat, or cure concussions and other TBIs because the claims are not backed with scientific evidence that the products are safe or effective for such purposes. These products are sold on the Internet and at various retail outlets, and marketed to consumers using social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

One common but misleading claim: Using a particular dietary supplement promotes faster healing after a concussion or other TBI.

Even if a particular supplement contains no harmful ingredients, that claim alone can be dangerous, says Gary Coody, FDA's National Health Fraud Coordinator.

"We're very concerned that false assurances of faster recovery will convince athletes of all ages, coaches and even parents that someone suffering from a concussion is ready to resume activities before they are really ready," says Coody. "Also, watch for claims that these products can prevent or lessen the severity of concussions or TBIs."

A concussion is a brain injury caused by a blow to the head, or by a violent shaking of the head and upper body. Concussions and other TBIs are serious medical conditions that require proper diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring by a health care professional. The long-term impact of concussions on professional athletes and children who play contact sports has recently been the subject of highly publicized discussions.

A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that if concussion victims resume strenuous activities—such as football, soccer or hockey—too soon, they risk a greater chance of having a subsequent concussion. Moreover, repeat concussions can have a cumulative effect on the brain, with devastating consequences that can include brain swelling, permanent brain damage, long-term disability and death.

“There is simply no scientific evidence to support the use of any dietary supplement for the prevention of concussions or the reduction of post-concussion symptoms that would allow athletes to return to play sooner,” said Charlotte Christin, acting director of FDA’s Division of Dietary Supplement Programs.

Click here for more information.

September 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Broadcasts, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law

Legal discussion analyzing class action soccer lawsuit againt FILA

I will be participating tomorrow morning—Saturday, August 30th at 10:40 AM in a discussion on the class action lawsuit commenced against FIFA and US Soccer leagues for concussion injuries in youth soccer on "The Classroom" from the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

I will be analyzing the claims made in this soccer case, the relief that the plainitff's are seeking and the legal arguments that I anticipate each side will be making.

1220 ESPN Radio and the Marist College Center for Sports Communication have launched a weekly sports radio program produced live from the Marist College campus, representing the nation’s first partnerships between an ESPN radio affiliate and an academic center on a college campus.

The program, named “The Classroom,” is heard on Saturday mornings on Fox1220, 95.7 and 94.1 ESPN Radio and live on the web at 10 a.m. to noon.  My segment is scheduled for 10:40 AM. 

To listen to the broadcase live, click here 

August 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack