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Cognitive Rehabilitation

Cognitive rehabilitation following brain injury continues to be a source of frustration to the millions of survivors of traumatic brain injury.  Insurance carriers, government entities and others continue with the unpersuasive argument that there is no support for cognitive rehabilitation in the medical literature.  This is simply untrue. 

Thankfully, a group of United States Senators led by Senators Evan Bayh and Barack Obama have demanded that the Department of Veteran's Affairs fund cognitive rehabilitation programs for those soldiers returning from the Iraq conflict who have sustained a traumatic brain injury.  The Brain Injury Association of America has been in the forefront of the battle to insure that all Americans receive this needed treatment.

Here is correspondence from the Brain Injury Association of America on this important subject.

August 5, 2008

Dear Stakeholders,

On behalf of the Brain Injury Association of America, I am thrilled to announce that yesterday a group of United States Senators, led by Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Barack Obama (D-IL), sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates calling on him to enact official coverage of cognitive rehabilitation within the military's TRICARE health insurance program.

BIAA worked closely with Senator Bayh's office to initiate the development of this letter and to urge the support of ten highly esteemed Senators who signed on in support of this important effort to increase access to timely, state-of-the-art care for returning servicemembers with traumatic brain injury. A copy of the letter is available from BIAA's website, along with talking points in support of TRICARE coverage of cognitive rehabilitation and a summary of the efficacy evidence. Additionally, on our website you will find BIAA's position statement, Cognitive Rehabilitation: The Evidence, Funding and Case for Advocacy, published in November 2006.

BIAA thanks Senators Bayh and Obama for their leadership on this issue and looks forward to continuing to work with Congress and the Department of Defense to make TRICARE coverage of cognitive rehabilitation a reality. We gratefully acknowledge the members of BIAA's Federal Legislative Advisory Committee who dedicated their time and expertise on behalf of this effort: Drs. Mark Ashley, Wayne Gordon, Debbie McMorrow, Greg O'Shanick, Jim Schraa, and Tina Trudel. 

In addition, BIAA expresses special appreciation to Drs. Keith Cicerone and Wayne Gordon for assistance in identifying the evidence supporting cognitive rehabilitation and to the Cognitive Rehabilitation Task Force of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine's Brain Injury Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group. Last, but certainly not least, I wish to recognize Laura Schiebelhut, BIAA's Director of Government Affairs, for her hard work and perseverance on this issue.  She has my heartfelt gratitude and deepest respect. 

BIAA is dedicated to educating the nation's policymakers about the value of cognitive and other brain injury rehabilitation therapies and the dire need to increase access to these therapies across both civilian and military populations. We will keep you informed of our progress.

Thank you for your support.

Susan H. Connors, President/CEO



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