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

New York Personal Injury Lawyer Shana De Caro elected to Board of Directors-Brain Injury Association of America

I am pleased to announce that my partner, Shana De Caro, Esq. has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America. Shana and I practice law together in the New York personal injury law firm, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP.  For over 30 years our nationally recognized personal injury law firm have represented individuals and their families following brain injury and other catastrophic injuries caused by vehicular, premises, construction accidents and medical malpractice.

 

Shana also serves as the Chair of the Traumatic Brain Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice and is the Secretary and a Trustee of the Civil Justice Foundation, Board of Trustees. She is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, Trial Lawyer Honorary Society and services as a member of the Advisory Board, Acquired Brain Injury Program, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., Graduate School of Education and Human Development.  

 

Shana is a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and is an elected Fellow of the Melvin Belli Society.  She has been selected as a New York Super Lawyer.

February 9, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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

Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill—March 18, 2015

The Congressional Brain Injury Task Force and the Brain Injury Association of America have set aside Wednesday, March 18, 2015 as Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill.

 

The schedule of events for the day is:

10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Brain Injury Awareness Fair
First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building                                                                               

2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Briefing: Finding a "New Normal": Post-Injury Supports and Services That Make a Difference 
121 Cannon House Office Building

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Reception Celebrating Brain  Injury Awareness Month
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building                                   

Plan to attend to network with other national and federal agencies and to visit with your Members of Congress regarding key issues affecting brain injury. The Brain Injury Association of America web site under government affairs will post further information.

 

February 6, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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

Vermont Brain Injury Association Studying Incompetence to Stand Trial as a Result of a Traumatic Brain Injury

In 2014, the Vermont legislature passed Act 158. Act 158 addresses the commitment of a criminal defendant who is incompetent to stand trial because of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). It provides the court with the authority to commit a criminal defendant who has been found incompetent to stand trial because of a TBI to the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living.

The Brain Injury Association of Vermont and Flint Springs Associates are conducting a research study to identify promising and/or evidence-based practices for treating individuals who are found incompetent to stand trial due to TBI or not guilty by reason of insanity in support of this change in legislation. The study focuses on reintegration into the community consistent with public safety.

 he Brain Injury Association of Vermont and Flint Springs Associates are seeking insights from brain injury organizations as part of this research effort. If you are able to help, please take a few minutes to respond to the questions below, or provide contact information for the person(s) who may be able to assist, and send them to:

Trevor Squirrell, Executive Director, Brain Injury Association of Vermont

STUDY QUESTIONS

1.    What happens to people with TBI in your criminal justice system who are unable to conform their behavior to the requirements of law? 

2.    Is there a process currently dictated by statute, in your state, to address individuals with TBI who are unable to conform their behavior to the requirements of the law?

3.    Do any programs, either institution and/or community based exist for justice-involved persons with TBI in your region/state?

January 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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 Association Information, Brain Injury Legislative News

Contratulations to Brain Injury Association of America for securing passage of the Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act

The following legisilative update was prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the voice of brain injury in the United States: 

Traumatic Brain Injury Act

The TBI Reauthorization Act of 2014, S. 2539, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by unanimous consent on Nov. 13 and is on its way to the President for his signature. The bill was sponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Bob Casey (D-Penn.). In today's legislative environment, it was no small feat to pass this bill, which had strong bi-partisan support, including Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), who co-sponsored a similar bill in the House, and who co-chair the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force..

 

The bill authorizes funding through FY 2019 for grants to States and Protection and Advocacy Systems to improve access to rehabilitation and community services and to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct surveillance and public education programs. The bill also allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to move the program from its current agency at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to another agency within HHS. New provisions were added calling for the Secretary of the HHS to develop a TBI Coordination Plan and for CDC to conduct a scientific review of the management of children with the TBI.

 

BIAA, along with the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA) and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) support moving the program to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to join other disability and aging programs administered by the agency. As Policy Corner readers know, the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act of 2014, which was signed by President Obama in August, transferred several of programs from the Department of Education to the ACL, including the Independent Living Center, Assistive Technology, and the National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation Research. BIAA and its partners will work with appropriators to move the HRSA TBI programs to ACL as well.

 

November 21, 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 Association Information, Brain Injury Legislative News

Traumatic Brain Injury Act Reauthorized-Great Work by Brain Injury Associaton of America

The following legilsative update was prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) who successfully led the coaltion for reauthorization of the TBI Act.

BIAA is pleased to announce the United States Senate passed the TBI Reauthorization Act of 2014, S. 2539, on Tuesday, September 16.

 

The TBI Act reauthorizes appropriations through FY2019 for TBI prevention and surveillance or registry programs. BIAA worked closely with Senate staff to add language to the legislation that requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a review of the scientific evidence relating to brain injury management in children, identifying ongoing and potential opportunities for research, and to report to Congress on the results of this review.

 

Susan Connors, BIAA's president and CEO commended the Senate for directing CDC to conduct more research into the management of brain injuries in children. BIAA thanks Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) for introducing the bill on the Senate floor and Sen.  Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) for moving it through the Senate HELP Committee.

 

Originally passed in 1996 and reauthorized in 2000 and 2008, the TBI Act represents a foundation for coordinated and balanced public policy in prevention, education, research, and community living for people with TBI. The TBI Act specifically allocates federal funds for programs supporting individuals with brain injury to federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institute for Health (NIH) and the Health Resources Administration (HRSA).

 

The House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the House version of the TBI Act in a floor vote on June 24, 2014.

The Senate bill was introduced by Sen. Hatch on June 26 and passed out of the Senate Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on July 23. The House of Representatives will vote on the TBI Act during the lame duck session which begins November 12. BIAA thanks the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA) and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) for their collaboration on TBI Act reauthorization.

 
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Webinar
Please join Peter Thomas

September 19, 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 Association Information, Brain Injury Legislative News

August 2014 brain injury legislative update

The following August federal brain injury legislative update was prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA):

TBI Act Reauthorization

The United States Senate planned to pass TBI Act Reauthorization this week but further action on the bill will be taken in September. BIAA thanks Sens. Harkin (D-Iowa), Alexander (R-TN), Hatch (R-UT) and Casey (D-PA) for their continued leadership on passing this important legislation to the brain injury community.

Assisted Living TBI Pilot Program Extension

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a $16 billion overall to the Department of Veterans Affairs Thursday night which included a three year extension to the Assisted Living TBI Pilot Program. Sens. Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced the Assisted Living Pilot Program for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury Extension Act, S.2607. The AL-TBI Extension Act authorizes the continuation of a critical VA program that provides intensive care and rehabilitation to veterans with complex brain injuries. AL-TBI consists of community-based residential/transitional rehabilitation programs around the country in which veterans are immersed in therapies for movement, memory, speech, and gradual community reintegration. This model of care allows veterans facing similar challenges to live together while receiving 24/7 care, which has yielded impressive results and helped rehabilitate hundreds of veterans from severe injuries that are notoriously difficult to treat. BIAA thanks Sens. Booker and Heller for their leadership and to Congress on extending this vital program to our Veterans with TBI.

U.S. Department of Education

On Tuesday, BIAA staff attended a meeting with Michael Yudin, Assistant Secretary of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services and other senior leadership at the Department to discuss New York State's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver extension which included a provision to test students with disabilities two grades below their enrolled grade level. On Thursday, the Department approved New York's ESEA Waiver Extension without Amendment 1. Amendment 1 was the provision that would have allowed NY to test students with disabilities at two grades below their enrolled grade. BIAA could not be more pleased that this provision was not included in the waiver - its removal means that thousands of students with disabilities including brain injury won't be taken off the track to graduation.

SAFE PLAY Act Introduced

On Thursday, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA-24) introduced the Supporting Athletes, Families and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth (SAFE PLAY) Act, a bill that would promote youth safety in athletic activities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, participation in organized sports is on the rise. Almost 30 million children participate in youth sports in the U.S. This increase in participation has also led to an increase in injuries - more than 3.5 million kids under age 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year, 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among U.S. children are associated with sports participation, and children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospitals.

To address this, the bill would take a multipronged approach of research, community education, and federal support for school district to adopt best practices to keep kids safe, focusing on several areas, including heat exposure, CPR and AED training, concussion response, and energy drink consumption, to ensure children's safety in athletics and on campus.

Specifically, the SAFEPLAY Act would direct the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to:

•         Develop recommended guidelines for the development of emergency actions plans for student athletes

•         Develop information on the ingredients used in energy drinks and the potential side effects of energy drink consumption

•         Recommend guidelines for the safe use of energy drink consumption by students

•         Report to Congress on the number of sports related fatalities and catastrophic injuries and the cause

•         Develop and disseminate information about the health risks associated with exposure to excessive heat and humidity, and how to avoid heat-related illness

•         Assist schools in developing and implementing an excessive heat action plan to be used during all school-sponsored athletic activities that occur during periods of excessive heat and humidity

The bill would also help local education agencies develop and implement safer schools. The bill would provide assistance for school districts to develop and implement a standard plan for concussion safety and management and set up concussion management teams to respond to incidents on campus. It would also support schools by providing access to critical resources to teach students across the country the life-saving skills of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use automated external defibrillators (AED).

Congress is out of session for the month of August and will return to Washington D.C. on September 8, 2014. Policy Corner will resume on September 12, 2014.

August 7, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack