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Brain Injury Association Legislative Update

The following is this week's legislative update compiled by the Brain Injury Association of America:

Appropriations Update

This week, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan released a fiscal 2011 budget allocation that would cap spending at $1.055 trillion and slice $32 billion from current government spending levels this year. As many of you know, fiscal year 2011 spending is currently running on FY2010 levels through March 4, 2011.

The allocation by Ryan represents a $58 billion reduction below President Obama’s proposed fiscal 2011 budget request of $478 billion for non-security programs. As defined by Republican leaders, non-security spending includes all discretionary spending not for defense, homeland security, veterans and military construction.

Programs that fall into this category, such as TBI Act programs and the TBI Model Systems are at risk for budget cuts and BIAA is committed to advocating in their favor. As Congress draws near the March 4, 2011 appropriations deadline, the grassroots community should be poised to take action when BIAA alerts are distributed.

Cognitive Rehabilitation Update

This week, BIAA partnered with Wounded Warrior Project to follow up with Congressional staff regarding the recent press around TRICARE’s non-coverage of cognitive rehabilitation for medically retired service members. Many initiatives spearheaded by BIAA in the past few years have been highlighted as a part of an ongoing story generated by National Public Radio (NPR).

In recent weeks, several Senators and Congressman have sent inquiries to the Department of Defense (DOD) to encourage a decision on whether or not this vital treatment should be covered. As a part of this push, BIAA has been invited to participate in a meeting held by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy for Traumatic Brain Injury. The meeting will include presentations by TRICARE Management Activity and all participants will be able to make statements before the committee.

BIAA is optimistic that its years of tireless advocacy on behalf of these service members will finally pay off and TRICARE will recognize the efficacy of Cognitive Rehabilitation as a medically necessary intervention for our wounded warriors.

Brain Injury Awareness Day 2011

This year, brain injury awareness day on Capitol Hill will be held on Wednesday, March 16, 2011. As in years past, there will be an awareness fair, briefing and reception. The full schedule for the day is as follows:

10:00 am – 1:30 pm   Brain Injury Awareness Fair, First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building

1:30 pm – 3:30 pm     Briefing: Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Re-Entry: Lessons Learned and the Road Ahead   Location to be Determined

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm     Reception Celebrating Brain Injury Awareness Month,  First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building

BIAA is committed to helping the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force plan a successful event around the importance of rehabilitation in recovery. .

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