Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Broadcasts, Brain Injury Events, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News, Brain Injury Publications, Brain Injury Rehabilitation, Current Affairs

Concussion a Good Opening Gambit

Shana and I attended an advance screening of the movie Concussion, with a group of sports writers and newscasters.  Will Smith gave a compelling performance as Bennet Omalu, and his quest to determine and understand the cause of a specific type of brain damage, later named CTE, first discovered in the brain of former Pittsburgh Steeler, Mike Webster.  This was Omalu’s movie and his story, based on the 2009 GQ exposé, Game Brain by Jeanne Marie Laskas. This was not a documentary.

The title for the film, “Concussion” is misleading.  The film is not about concussions and the failure on the part of the league to inform players about the signs and symptoms of concussions, the need to refrain from returning to play before a player is healed, or the potential life-long consequences of a concussion.  It is a film about the work of Bennet Omalu and his efforts to understand Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

Importantly the film is based upon a true story, but is not a complete story.  It is an excellent presentation of the path Omalu took and the painstaking investigation into the cause Mike Webster’s death.  Omalu’s dogged pursuit of answers led to the discovery of the connection between football and brain damage and opened the door to further research.  The movie indicated his conflict with the NFL in accepting this information, which the NFL still disputes.

This movie opens the door to a more important conversation, about trauma and brain damage that must continue.  The cinematic decisions about the portrayals of different characters and the complete omission of any reference to the Concussion Legacy Foundation in Boston, the past and current role of Commissioner Goodell and the NFL marketing department in deflecting criticism were interesting choices made by the film’s writer and director.

It was a compelling introduction for the public to the health issues generated by trauma in football.  This theme must be expanded. If this movie provokes a national conversation about the larger issues associated with all types of brain damage, from football, other sports and everyday accidents, then it has been a great public service.  It would be misleading, if however, it leaves the impression that the problems have been remedied or that the only public health concern is CTE.  This is the tip of the iceberg of the full-range of chronic life-altering effects of concussions. 

Brain injury is a chronic condition with life-long consequences.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), each year there are over 200,000 visits to emergency departments by children under the age of 19 suffering concussion related problems from organized sports.  Omitted from these statistics are visits to urgent care facilities, physicians’ offices, and cases where concussion is not the principal diagnosis. The CDC estimates that the accurate number is between 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports related concussions documented each year!  This is a true public health crisis.  Labeling a condition does not address treatment issues and how we, as a society, address the impact of a chronic condition that has consequences for families and society.

We applaud the efforts of all those involved in making this important film, and hope it engenders continued investigation and research into not only prevention, but improved identification and treatment options that will assist this vulnerable population.

SHANA DE CARO, ESQ. is a member of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America and immediate past chair of the American Association for Justice  Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group.

MICHAEL V. KAPLEN, ESQ. is a Professorial Lecturer in Law teaching the only course in traumatic brain injury law at The George Washington University Law School, a member and immediate past chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Coordinating Council, three term president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State and a past chair of the American Association for Justice Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group.

DE CARO & KAPLEN, LLP is a New York based law firm with a focus on representing victims of traumatic brain injury throughout the nation.  Shana and Michael are frequently invited to lecture attorneys and public advocacy groups nationwide on the legal issues pertaining to brain injury, public health concerns and the impact of brain injury on the lives of its victims.

Shana and Michael authored the New York Law Journal expert column on brain injury law and the chapter on brain injury law in the special issue of Psychiatric Clinics of North America.    

December 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Legislative News, Brain Injury Rehabilitation

Brain Injury Association of America--Affordable Care Act Consumer Survey

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is conducting a survey to better understand
whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is meeting the needs of individuals with
brain injuries. If you have health care coverage through private insurance
provided by your employer or by one of the health care marketplaces or
"exchange,." click here to fill out the survey.  The survey is also under news and
announcements on BIAA's website

November 6, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Events, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News, Brain Injury Prevention

Concussion Legacy Foundation Awards Ceremony this Evening in Boston, Mass

I will be in Boston, Mass this evening attending the annual awards ceremony for the Concussion Legacy Foundation, formally known as the Sports Legacy Institute.  Foundation headed by Chris Nowinski has been instrumental in alerting the public to the dangers of concussion and brain damage in all sports; providing needed education on the signs and symptoms of concussions and most importantly leading efforts to keep players out when there is any suspicion of a concussion.  The group through their affiliation with Boston University also has led efforts to understand and appreciate the effects of cumulative brain trauma and its causation to a Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).  Keep up the great work!

November 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Legislative News

Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act – Capital Hill Briefing

On September 16th from 11:30 to 12:30 in the Senate Russell Building, room 485, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) will be co-sponsoring a Senate briefing to discuss S. 849, Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act.

The bill would help advance neurological disease research by establishing a system to collect accurate epidemiological data  about individuals afflicted with neurological diseases.  Currently, there is no accurate account of how many people in the United States have sustained a brain injury or of the demographic characteristics of those living with disabilities as a result of a brain injury. As a result, brain injury researchers are working at a distinct disadvantage: lacking basic information about the disease.

August 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Legislative News

Brain Injury Association of America--Legislative Update

The following legislative update has been prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the nation's voice for persons with a brain injury

TBI Stakeholder Meeting with the Department of Health and Human Services

On Tuesday, June 9, BIAA staff and other TBI stakeholders met with leadership from the Department of Health and Human Services to discuss elevating the Federal TBI State Grant Program and Protection and Advocacy Program from Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA) to the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

In the reauthorization of the TBI Act, which was signed into law in November 2014, discretion was given to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on which agency should administer the program.  The TBI stakeholders believe the Administration for Community Living is the proper home for the TBI program because its mission is to maximize the independence, well-being, and health of older adults, people with disabilities across the lifespan, and their families and caregivers. Individuals who have sustained a TBI need continued supports and services across the lifespan. By elevating the TBI program, stakeholders anticipate State agencies and Protection and Advocacy organizations would be better able to coordinate with and leverage programs and resources at the state and federal levels to improve services to individuals with brain injury and their families. 

In addition to the federal agency leaders and staff and stakeholder organizations, Alyssa Penna, legislative director for Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.), who is co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, attended the meeting.

Pascrell, Rooney Amendment to Restore $25M to TBI Program Passes House of Representatives

On Wednesday, June 10, the House of Representatives passed an amendment offered by U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Co-chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Caucus, to the 2016 Defense Appropriations Act that would restore $25 million from the Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research Program.  The defense appropriations bill cuts $25 million from the TBI program, representing a decrease of 20% from last year's funding level.

The Psychological Health and TBI Research Program supports the DOD Psychological Health and TBI Center of Excellence in its efforts to educate service members and their families, enhance clinical and management approaches, and facilitate other vital services to best serve the needs of our service members impacted by TBI and psychological health problems. TBI continues to be the signature injury among our nation's service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 300,000 troops have been diagnosed with mild TBI since 2000, a number that continues to increase as identification and detection methods become more accurate.

National Institutes of Health Names Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

On June 11, National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the selection of Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., as the Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). He has served as Acting Director of the NINDS since October, 2014.

In announcing the appointment, Dr. Collins recognized Dr. Koroshetz' role in the creation of the StrokeNet, a national clinical trial network for research in stroke treatment, prevention, and recovery as well as his role as point person for traumatic brain injury research at the NIH, and Co-founder of the NIH-Uniformed Services Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (TBI research center).

Dr. Koroshetz serves as co-chair of the NIH BRAIN Initiative. He was instrumental in establishing the NIH Office of Emergency Research. He is the NINDS representative to the federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee; Chair of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee and the NIH Pain Consortium, and Co-chair of the Common Fund Undiagnosed Disease program.

As the new Director of the NINDS, Dr. Koroshetz will oversee an annual budget of $1.6 billion and 1141 scientists, physician-scientists, and research administrators. The Institute supports research by investigators in public and private institutions across the country, as well as by scientists working in its intramural laboratories and branches in Bethesda, Maryland. Since 1950, the Institute has been at the forefront of U.S. efforts in brain research, with studies in areas ranging from the structure and function of single brain cells to research on the causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and, most recently, the translational research that is helping to bridge the gap.

Before coming to NIH as the NINDS Deputy Director in 2007, Dr. Koroshetz was a Harvard Professor of Neurology, Vice Chair of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Director of Stroke and Neurointensive Care, and a member of the Huntington's disease unit. He was also a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and led neurology resident training at MGH from 1990 until 2007. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Koroshetz graduated from Georgetown University and received his M.D. from the University of Chicago. He trained in internal medicine at the University of Chicago and in both internal medicine and neurology at MGH, after which he did postdoctoral studies in cellular neurophysiology at MGH and the Harvard neurobiology department.

NINDS is the nation's leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The mission of NINDS is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.

NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.

June 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News, Brain Injury Prevention

NY Times Editorial--Parents Need to Make Important Decisions When It Comes to the Risk of Head Injury and Brain Damage

Today's New York Times contains an important editorial on the silent dangers of concussions while engaged in any contact sport.  http://snip.ly/Bwhl

Here is a portion of that editorial:

Beyond the pro game, the decision by Mr. Borland to quit after one season to protect his health should be carefully noted by parents of the hundreds of thousands of youngsters eager to play each year at the peewee, high school and college levels. Research published in January in the medical journal Neurology found that former professionals who started playing before the age of 12 performed “significantly worse” in mental dexterity tests than those who began tackle football later, according to a study by the Boston University School of Medicine. Even in the absence of diagnosed concussions, high school players showed measurable brain changes after just a single season of tackle play, according to a separate study last December by the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

March 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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

Urgent Message from Brain Injury Association of America-Repeal Medicare Therapy Cap

The following urgent request was received today from the Brain Injury Association of America

URGENT!  We Need Your Help to include Therapy Cap Repeal in the Final SGR Package!  Call Your House Representative Today!

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently negotiating a permanent policy to fix the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula in order to prevent a 21% cut in Medicare provider payments. 

Although we support passage of necessary SGR reform, we remain concerned that an extension of the current exceptions process rather than a full repeal of the Medicare therapy cap may be included in this legislation.  

This is a threat to YOUR access to necessary therapy services if there is no longer a legislative vehicle to pass further extensions or repeal of the therapy cap.  

BIAA remains active with Congress as these negotiations move forward but we need your help to weigh in with you legislators to ensure a full repeal of the theray cap is included in any final permanent SGR deal.

WHAT YOU CAN DO - CALL YOUR HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE AND ASK FOR THE HEALTH LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT: 

US Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121

 

MESSAGE:

  • As you can imagine, all  of us in the brain injury community are concerned about the possibility of      permanent SGR moving without addressing permanent therapy cap repeal and      reform especially given the several years of work that the committees and      external stakeholders have put into finding a thoughtful solution. 
  • Therapy cap repeal,  although an "extender" directly impacts patient's access to  necessary rehabilitation needed after a brain injury to treat many chronic conditions. 
  • Therapy cap repeal legislation has consistently garnered significant bipartisan support with 225 cosponsors in the 113th Congress. 
  • The committees of jurisdiction and therapy community last year came up with a repeal policy that would replace the therapy cap with a more appropriate utilization control that would cut the cost of full repeal by 1/3. 
  • Without a permanent fix  through SGR, there would be no vehicle in the future to address this issue      which is a barrier to patient access to rehabilitation effecting 1 million  beneficiaries each year.
  • Therapy cap repeal provisions included by the Senate Finance committee SGR bill last year must be      included in any SGR repeal moving forward

Please call your Representative TODAY and help prevent implementation of a hard cap on therapy services before March 31, 2015. 

 

March 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Legislative News

Brain Injury Association of America Legislative Update

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has released the following legislative update:

March 6, 2015

BIAA Releases 2015 Legislative Issue Briefs

This week, BIAA released the 2015 legislative issue briefs highlighting BIAA's legislative agenda. The legislative issue briefs include Strengthen Federal and State TBI Programs, Increase Access to Care for Individuals with Brain Injury, Keep Individuals with Brain Injury Financially Solvent and Caregivers Strong, Advance and Accelerate Brain Injury Research, Grow the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, and Improve Awareness and Understanding of Brain Injury. The legislative issue briefs can be found here

Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill

Please join the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, chaired by Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), and the Brain Injury Association of America for Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The schedule of events for the day:

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

Bobby Silverstein
Moderator
Principal, Powers, Pyles, Sutter, & Verville

Mac Fedge
TBI Survivor 

Kathy Fedge
TBI Family Caregiver

William Ditto
Chair of the NASHIA Public Policy Committee

Matt Breiding, PhD
Commander, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
Traumatic Brain Injury Team Lead

David Williamson, M.D.
Neuropsychiatrist & Medical Director, Inpatient Traumatic Brain Injury Program,
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center 

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. Please stay tuned to BIAA's website under the government affairs for more information.

House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Meetings

This week, BIAA and NASHIA staff met with the majority and minority staff of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education to discuss moving the federal TBI state grant program from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to the Administration on Community Living (ACL). The meetings were positive and staff was receptive to the TBI stakeholders' request.

 Assisting Caregivers Today Caucus

Representative Black (R-Tenn.), Representative Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), Senator Ayotte (R-N.H.), and Senator Bennet (D-Colo.) launched the Assisting Caregivers Today Caucus on March 3, 2015. The goal of the caucus is to bring greater visibility to the value of and need to support family caregivers, as well as the challenges and opportunities individuals of all ages face as they seek to live independently. The caucus aims to inform Members of Congress about these issues, elevate the conversation, forge an environment and context conducive to reaching bipartisan solutions, and help create a sense of urgency to act. Please ask your elected officials to join the Assisting Caregivers Today Caucus.

March 7, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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

March 2015 Brain Injury Legislative Summary

The Brain Injury Association of America has prepared the following federal legislative summary:

Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill

Please join the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, chaired by Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), and the Brain Injury Association of America for Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The schedule of events for the day:

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

 

BIAA's President/CEO Presents on behalf of the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation

Susan Connors, president/CEO of the Brain Injury Association of America, joined with members of the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation in presenting to attendees of the American Medical Rehab Providers Association spring meeting in Washington, D.C. Ms. Connors described the challenges individuals with brain injury and their family members experience when trying to access post-acute rehabilitation at inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units as well as residential rehabilitation facilities and out-patient clinics.

BIAA serves on nine advocacy coalitions in Washington, D.C. and serves as a steering committee member for the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation (CPR). The CPR is a coalition of national consumer, clinician, and membership organizations with the goal of preserving access to rehabilitation services. CPR advocates for policies that ensure access to rehabilitative care so that individuals with disabilities, injuries, or chronic conditions may regain and/or maintain their maximum level of independent function.

Therapy Cap Repeal Legislation Introduced in the United States Senate

This week, a bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to repeal the Medicare outpatient rehabilitation therapy caps, S. 539, was introduced in the  by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

The House of Representatives recently introduced legislation to fully repeal the current monetary caps on Medicare therapy services. The Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act, H.R. 755, led by Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.), Xavier Becerra (D-Ca.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Lois Capps (D-Ca.), would permanently remove the limits that Medicare places on physical and speech-language therapy combined and occupational therapy. While there is an exceptions process designed for medically necessary therapy, it has been a burden and insufficient to protect access to care. 

The Brain Injury Association of America works with the Therapy Cap Coalition in Washington D.C. throughout the year to repeal the therapy cap. BIAA grassroots has played a key role in the work to repeal the therapy cap. Please contact your Member of Congress today and ask him or her to address a permanent solution to the Medicare therapy caps before March 31, 2015, when the current exceptions process will expire. You can reach your representative by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

March 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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