The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has announced the release of its updated issue briefsthatadvocates are encouraged to use when “meeting with national, state and local government officials.” The press release explains that these five issue briefs address essential public policy issues and provide important information about the following brain injury concerns:
- Military care
- Access to care
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) Act appropriations and reauthorization
- Membership in the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force
The military issue brief explains that an estimated 360,000 Iraq and Afghanistan service members have sustained a TBI and need access to a full array of care. This includes Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy (CRT), which is the process of relearning cognitive skills that have been lost or changed as a result of brain damage. The brief explains that military veterans also require Vocational Rehabilitation to overcome TBI and work again, as well as improved Home and Community Based Treatment because “access to local and specialized treatment remains limited.”
BIAA’s brief focusing on access to care explains that individuals need to ensure several regulations are included during the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which is a health care law aimed at improving our current health care system by expanding access to coverage and introducing new protections for those who have health insurance. The brain injury association explains that this includes clear definitions of “rehabilitation” and “medical necessity” to ensure that patients receive the full spectrum and comprehensiveness of care they require. BIAA also asks regulators to “comply with the overarching goal of the Affordable Care Act” in order to offer the most effective health care possible.
BIAA explains that in order to improve research, full funding of the TBI Model Systems of Care needs to occur. These systems are a “collection of 16 research centers located across the United States that conduct disability and rehabilitation research under grants administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) of the U.S Department of Education.” With the full funding of these facilities, BIAA notes that they will be able to continue acting as an important “proving ground” for new research into TBI.
By appropriating an additional $22 million for TBI Acts programs, Congress would strengthen the CDC’s ability to study, inform, and warn Americans of the risks of TBI. This increase in funding would also bolster HRSA state grant programs that provide training and technical assistance to grantees. Finally, this funding increase would go towards the HRSA Protection and Advocacy Program (P&A), which assists brain injury victims as they “exercise their rights and access public service systems.”
Finally, BIAA’s issue brief on the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force asks additional members of Congress to join in the fight to improve the lives of brain injury patients and their families. According to chair member Bill Pascrell, he founded the task force in 2001 to “further education and awareness of brain injury (incidence, prevalence, prevention, and treatment) and support funding for basic and applied research on brain injury rehabilitation and development of a cure.” Pascrell notes that the estimated national TBI cost is $60 billion annually.
With these issue briefs, BIAA equips all advocates with the information and consistent message that is needed to effectively raise awareness and create changes that will improve the lives of the millions who live with TBI. To find out how to get involved and support this important cause, locate your state brain injury association by clicking here.