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

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