«New pediatric brain injury unit opened in New York | Home | Important traumatic brain injury resources for veterans and others»

Support the National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan Act

Guest editorial:  Support the National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan Act

The following editorial appeared in the Times of Trenton authored by the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey

Imagine you are a parent whose child has sustained a brain injury through something as enjoyable as playing a sport or as horrific as abuse by a caretaker or as patriotic as serving our country as a member of the armed forces. Wouldn’t you want the best system of care possible to maximize the chances of recovery and quality of life for your child? There are many tragic stories about children and youth with brain injury; Congress has an opportunity to provide support and hope for them.

New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Westfield) introduced the National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan Act (PABI Plan Act). Also known as H.R. 2600, the act would enable the creation of a seamless, standardized, evidence-based system of care that will be universally accessible for the millions of American families affected by the life-altering changes and challenges associated with brain injury. The plan would include youth aged 25 and younger who may be serving in the armed forces. Implementation of the act will cover the entire continuum of care: from prevention, treatment in acute medical facilities, reintegration into schools, communities and homes and then transition into an adult system of greater independent living.

Despite the fact that 95 members of the House of Representatives are co-sponsors of H.R. 2600, Congress has yet to advance it out of subcommittee. The Brain Injury Association of New Jersey believes Congress should do so as soon as possible.

Brian injury is a leading cause of death and disability in children and young adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 765,000 youth aged 25 and younger enter an emergency department each year with a new traumatic brain injury. More than 80,000 are hospitalized, and more than 11,000 die annually. The number of youth and children who receive no care is unknown.

“The ultimate goal of the PABI Plan Act is to maximize recovery, enhance quality of life and ensure that New Jersey — and American — youth have the best chance to live productive and meaningful lives,” said Barbara Geiger-Parker, president and CEO of the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey, a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to support and advocate for individuals affected by brain injury and raise public awareness through education and prevention.

H.R. 2600 is pending consideration by the subcommittee on health within the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The bill is not yet slated for a hearing. Meanwhile, many American families are waiting in the wings, hoping that support for their child with brain injury is near.

This socially and fiscally sound proposal has broad appeal. All members of the New Jersey congressional delegation should co-sponsor H.R. 2600. Several members of the delegation already have. Rep. Jon Runyan (R-Mount Laurel), Donald Payne (D-Newark), and Albio Sires (D-Jersey City) have joined Rep. Lance and registered as co-sponsors. The balance of the New Jersey congressional delegation should follow the lead of their colleagues. The act’s co-sponsors range from the most liberal to the most conservative members of Congress. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, supports the bill, as does the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, who advocate for improving the lives of veterans and their families.

It’s vital that New Jerseyans contact their Congress members to ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 2600 and call on Congress to approve it and the president to sign it. Doing so is an important step forward in maximizing the lives of New Jersey youth who are affected by brain injury. The act will change how children and youth with brain injury — including veterans —receive care. They cannot wait. The time for Congress and the president to act is now.

The National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan Act was first proposed by the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation. I am honored that I am a member of the Sarah Jane Foundation National Legal Advisory Board.

For legal assistance following a traumatic brain injury, contact the brain injury law firm of De Caro & Kaplen, LLP.




TrackBack URL for this entry:
Trackback link

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Support the National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan Act:


The comments to this entry are closed.