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This week's brain injury legislative update

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has requested that I distribute this week's traumatic brain injury legislative update.

Healthcare Reform

Next week, BIAA will engage in a series of meetings in the House, Senate, and the White House to discuss healthcare reform principles that would benefit the brain injury community.  Please be sure to check back in next week's Policy Corner for action instructions. We need everyone's support to make sure that people with brain injury are heard in this debate!

Appropriations Update

This week, the House and Senate have agreed on a tentative deal on major elements of the fiscal year 2010 budget resolution which includes fast-track procedures for healthcare reform, but would cut $10 billion from the President's discretionary spending request.

The negotiators plan to hold a formal conference committee meeting next week. In the mean time, behind-the-scenes negotiations will continue today and through the weekend.  According to CQ, democratic leaders would like to have the final budget adopted next week as President Obama marks his first 100 days in office.

BIAA will continue to monitor the situation as the Appropriations process moves forward.

Senate Approves HHS Nomination

On Tuesday, a Senate panel approved the nomination of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to be Health and Human Services secretary, clearing the way for her expected confirmation, although the timing of a vote is unclear.

BIAA will watch this process closely as Healthcare Reform continues to take shape.

Interagency Committee on Disability Research Recommendations

Last week, as part of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Coalition, BIAA answered the call for research topic recommendations by the Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR).

The their testimony, DRRC focused on how well the existing federal research programs are responding to the changing needs of individuals with disabilities and suggested specific ways to improve future disability and rehabilitation research such as:

* Develop a comprehensive government-wide strategic plan for disability and rehabilitation research.

* Develop government-wide methods for identifying disability and rehabilitation research as well as subtopics (e.g.,      studies of body structure/function deficits, activities, participation, capacity building activities, treatment and service effectiveness research) so that the magnitude and trends in disability and rehabilitation research across various agencies can be tracked.

* Develop guiding principles for conducting disability and rehabilitation research.

* Support a research agenda-setting summit bringing together policymakers, representatives from federal agencies, non-governmental funders of rehabilitation research, and organizations representing researchers, providers, and individuals with disabilities. The agenda should include but not be limited to consideration of the recommendations by IOM in the 1991, 1997 and 2007 reports on disability; what about the  President's New Freedom Commission in Mental Health Recommendations ( 2003)  and the recommendations of the Rehabilitation Medicine Summit: Building Research Capacity (April 2005), as well as a review of the progress the nation has made in implementing these recommendations.

* Increase federal funding significantly in various agencies performing rehabilitation and disability research.

* Elevate the status of NCMRR within the National Institutes of Health.

* Clarify NIDRR's role to include health and function research as integrally related to employment and community participation research, or Congress may want to consider moving the health and function responsibilities to another agency.

* Create an Office of Disability and Health in the CDC.

* Examine the role of the VA/DoD research programs and enhance the interaction between these programs and civilian disability and rehabilitation research capacity.

* Expand support for efficacy studies documenting the benefit (including cost-benefit) of rehabilitation services, supports, treatments, and devices, including support for large scale randomized clinical trials (where appropriate).

* Support efforts to enhance knowledge translation so that research is more efficiently translated to practice and practice to research in the rehabilitation and disability fields.

* Expand and improve the authority of ICDR to coordinate disability and rehabilitation research among the federal agencies.




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