Approval of NFL Class Action Settlement by Federal Court-A Bad Deal for Players

You can put lipstick on a pig it's still a pig; you can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change it's still going to stink after eight years.  That is the unfortunate truth concerning the approval of the NFL class action brain injury settlement.  Read some of my other comments in today’s edition of USA Today.

 

 

 

April 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Understanding the impact of traumatic brain injury

The Brain Injury Association of America will be sponsoring a caregiver webinar on Thursday, April 16, 2015, 3 PM Eastern Time, entitled, Awareness, Depression, and Catastrophic Reaction After Brain Injury

“Recovery after a brain injury is a long and difficult process. As people begin to understand the impact of their injuries on their lives, it can feel overwhelming and lead to feeling like there is no hope.”   This webinar is designed to address these important issues following a traumatic brain injury.

For more information and to register go to the Brain Injury Asociation of America web site.

For legal assistance following a brain injury, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP, can provide assistance.

 

April 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Call For Abstracts-- Eleventh World Congress on Brain Injury

The Eleventh World Congress on Brain Injury will be held at The Hague, The Netherlands from March 2-5, 2016

The World Congress has set an abstract deadline date for September 15, 2015

I have been informed that the abstract submission portal is now open.  The International Brain Injury Association accepts the submission of original research on all brain injury topics.

The 2015 abstract categories are:
•         Neurorehabilitation - activities and participation
•         Neurorehabilitation - basic research
•         Neurorehabilitation - case report/clinical research
•         Neurorehabilitation - public policy
•         Neurotrauma - basic research
•         Neurotrauma - case report/clinical research
•         Neurotrauma - health services and outcomes
•         Neurotrauma - prevention and public health
•         Technology - basic research
•         Technology - clinical research/applications

For more information or to submit your abstract, click here.

 

April 9, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brain Injury Professional Symposium

The Brain Injury Association of New York State (BIANYS) will be hosting a full day professional symposium, Latest Developments in Brain Injury: Identification, Rehabilitation and Treatment on June 4, 2015 in Albany, New York at the Marriott Hotel.  

I am co-chair of this program along with Steven Flanagan, M.D. Professor and Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center.

The program is intended for all professionals involved in brain injury identification, treatment and rehabilitation.  It brings together some of the leading experts to discuss issued of brain injury epidemiology; sports concussions; cerebral imaging and traumatic brain injury; the role of neuropsychology in brain injury; management of behavioral problems; support for caregivers and family members and the latest research. 

Further information can be obtained at the web site of the Brain Injury Association of New York State.

March 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NY Times Editorial--Parents Need to Make Important Decisions When It Comes to the Risk of Head Injury and Brain Damage

Today's New York Times contains an important editorial on the silent dangers of concussions while engaged in any contact sport.  http://snip.ly/Bwhl

Here is a portion of that editorial:

Beyond the pro game, the decision by Mr. Borland to quit after one season to protect his health should be carefully noted by parents of the hundreds of thousands of youngsters eager to play each year at the peewee, high school and college levels. Research published in January in the medical journal Neurology found that former professionals who started playing before the age of 12 performed “significantly worse” in mental dexterity tests than those who began tackle football later, according to a study by the Boston University School of Medicine. Even in the absence of diagnosed concussions, high school players showed measurable brain changes after just a single season of tackle play, according to a separate study last December by the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

March 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immediate Affects of Concussions Not Always Apparent

A new study published in  in the American Journal of Sports Medicine examines the performance of baseball players following their return to play after a concussion.  Concussions may linger among professional baseball players

March 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Then dangers of football encompass more than CTE

I am honored to have been consulted by the New York Daily News for my opinions on the dangers of brain injury while playing professional football.   

March 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Chris Borland-NFL's Worst Nightmare: The Reality of Football and Brain Injury

Today's New York Times reports on Chris Borland and his decision to retire from professional football.

This is precisely the nightmare that the league has dreaded would occur.  The more information players obtain, the more players will decide that the risk of permanent brain damage is just not worth the reward.  This is just the beginning.  And you wonder why the NFL has worked so hard to minimize the risks and is working so hard to create an illusion they can make the game safe?

 

March 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Urgent Message from Brain Injury Association of America-Repeal Medicare Therapy Cap

The following urgent request was received today from the Brain Injury Association of America

URGENT!  We Need Your Help to include Therapy Cap Repeal in the Final SGR Package!  Call Your House Representative Today!

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently negotiating a permanent policy to fix the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula in order to prevent a 21% cut in Medicare provider payments. 

Although we support passage of necessary SGR reform, we remain concerned that an extension of the current exceptions process rather than a full repeal of the Medicare therapy cap may be included in this legislation.  

This is a threat to YOUR access to necessary therapy services if there is no longer a legislative vehicle to pass further extensions or repeal of the therapy cap.  

BIAA remains active with Congress as these negotiations move forward but we need your help to weigh in with you legislators to ensure a full repeal of the theray cap is included in any final permanent SGR deal.

WHAT YOU CAN DO - CALL YOUR HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE AND ASK FOR THE HEALTH LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT: 

US Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121

 

MESSAGE:

  • As you can imagine, all  of us in the brain injury community are concerned about the possibility of      permanent SGR moving without addressing permanent therapy cap repeal and      reform especially given the several years of work that the committees and      external stakeholders have put into finding a thoughtful solution. 
  • Therapy cap repeal,  although an "extender" directly impacts patient's access to  necessary rehabilitation needed after a brain injury to treat many chronic conditions. 
  • Therapy cap repeal legislation has consistently garnered significant bipartisan support with 225 cosponsors in the 113th Congress. 
  • The committees of jurisdiction and therapy community last year came up with a repeal policy that would replace the therapy cap with a more appropriate utilization control that would cut the cost of full repeal by 1/3. 
  • Without a permanent fix  through SGR, there would be no vehicle in the future to address this issue      which is a barrier to patient access to rehabilitation effecting 1 million  beneficiaries each year.
  • Therapy cap repeal provisions included by the Senate Finance committee SGR bill last year must be      included in any SGR repeal moving forward

Please call your Representative TODAY and help prevent implementation of a hard cap on therapy services before March 31, 2015. 

 

March 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brain Injury Association of America Legislative Update

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has released the following legislative update:

March 6, 2015

BIAA Releases 2015 Legislative Issue Briefs

This week, BIAA released the 2015 legislative issue briefs highlighting BIAA's legislative agenda. The legislative issue briefs include Strengthen Federal and State TBI Programs, Increase Access to Care for Individuals with Brain Injury, Keep Individuals with Brain Injury Financially Solvent and Caregivers Strong, Advance and Accelerate Brain Injury Research, Grow the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, and Improve Awareness and Understanding of Brain Injury. The legislative issue briefs can be found here

Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill

Please join the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, chaired by Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), and the Brain Injury Association of America for Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The schedule of events for the day:

10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.         Brain Injury Awareness Fair First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building

2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.           Briefing: Finding a "New Normal": Post-Injury Supports and Services That Make a Difference         

121 Cannon House Office Building

Bobby Silverstein
Moderator
Principal, Powers, Pyles, Sutter, & Verville

Mac Fedge
TBI Survivor 

Kathy Fedge
TBI Family Caregiver

William Ditto
Chair of the NASHIA Public Policy Committee

Matt Breiding, PhD
Commander, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
Traumatic Brain Injury Team Lead

David Williamson, M.D.
Neuropsychiatrist & Medical Director, Inpatient Traumatic Brain Injury Program,
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center 

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.           Reception Celebrating Brain Injury Awareness                                                           Month  B-339 Rayburn House Office Building

Plan to attend to network with other national and federal agencies and to visit with your Members of Congress regarding key issues affecting brain injury. Please stay tuned to BIAA's website under the government affairs for more information.

House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Meetings

This week, BIAA and NASHIA staff met with the majority and minority staff of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education to discuss moving the federal TBI state grant program from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to the Administration on Community Living (ACL). The meetings were positive and staff was receptive to the TBI stakeholders' request.

 Assisting Caregivers Today Caucus

Representative Black (R-Tenn.), Representative Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), Senator Ayotte (R-N.H.), and Senator Bennet (D-Colo.) launched the Assisting Caregivers Today Caucus on March 3, 2015. The goal of the caucus is to bring greater visibility to the value of and need to support family caregivers, as well as the challenges and opportunities individuals of all ages face as they seek to live independently. The caucus aims to inform Members of Congress about these issues, elevate the conversation, forge an environment and context conducive to reaching bipartisan solutions, and help create a sense of urgency to act. Please ask your elected officials to join the Assisting Caregivers Today Caucus.

March 7, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 2015 Brain Injury Legislative Summary

The Brain Injury Association of America has prepared the following federal legislative summary:

Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill

Please join the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, chaired by Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), and the Brain Injury Association of America for Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The schedule of events for the day:

10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.         Brain Injury Awareness Fair
First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building                                                      

2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.           Briefing: Finding a "New Normal": Post-Injury Supports and Services That Make a Difference
121 Cannon House Office Building

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.           Reception Celebrating Brain Injury Awareness Month 
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building

 

BIAA's President/CEO Presents on behalf of the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation

Susan Connors, president/CEO of the Brain Injury Association of America, joined with members of the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation in presenting to attendees of the American Medical Rehab Providers Association spring meeting in Washington, D.C. Ms. Connors described the challenges individuals with brain injury and their family members experience when trying to access post-acute rehabilitation at inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units as well as residential rehabilitation facilities and out-patient clinics.

BIAA serves on nine advocacy coalitions in Washington, D.C. and serves as a steering committee member for the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation (CPR). The CPR is a coalition of national consumer, clinician, and membership organizations with the goal of preserving access to rehabilitation services. CPR advocates for policies that ensure access to rehabilitative care so that individuals with disabilities, injuries, or chronic conditions may regain and/or maintain their maximum level of independent function.

Therapy Cap Repeal Legislation Introduced in the United States Senate

This week, a bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to repeal the Medicare outpatient rehabilitation therapy caps, S. 539, was introduced in the  by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

The House of Representatives recently introduced legislation to fully repeal the current monetary caps on Medicare therapy services. The Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act, H.R. 755, led by Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.), Xavier Becerra (D-Ca.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Lois Capps (D-Ca.), would permanently remove the limits that Medicare places on physical and speech-language therapy combined and occupational therapy. While there is an exceptions process designed for medically necessary therapy, it has been a burden and insufficient to protect access to care. 

The Brain Injury Association of America works with the Therapy Cap Coalition in Washington D.C. throughout the year to repeal the therapy cap. BIAA grassroots has played a key role in the work to repeal the therapy cap. Please contact your Member of Congress today and ask him or her to address a permanent solution to the Medicare therapy caps before March 31, 2015, when the current exceptions process will expire. You can reach your representative by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

March 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NFL admits they can't track concussions with helmet technology

According to published reports, the National Football League has suspended a program to track concussions with the use of helmet sensors.  The sensors are ineffective in predicting concussions.

Helmets cannot prevent concussions and current technology cannot provide accurate information concerning the multiple forces being applied to the brain upon impact.  In fact, since it is the brain moving within the skull that causes brain damage, an impact need not occur for a concussion to take place.

Simply put, football is a concussion delivery system. Helmets despite all of the rhetoric on the part of the NFL do not make the sport safe.

You can read the full story by clicking here.

February 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New York Personal Injury Lawyer Shana De Caro elected to Board of Directors-Brain Injury Association of America

I am pleased to announce that my partner, Shana De Caro, Esq. has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America. Shana and I practice law together in the New York personal injury law firm, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP.  For over 30 years our nationally recognized personal injury law firm have represented individuals and their families following brain injury and other catastrophic injuries caused by vehicular, premises, construction accidents and medical malpractice.

 

Shana also serves as the Chair of the Traumatic Brain Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice and is the Secretary and a Trustee of the Civil Justice Foundation, Board of Trustees. She is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, Trial Lawyer Honorary Society and services as a member of the Advisory Board, Acquired Brain Injury Program, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., Graduate School of Education and Human Development.  

 

Shana is a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and is an elected Fellow of the Melvin Belli Society.  She has been selected as a New York Super Lawyer.

February 9, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Stress and Anxiety Following Traumatic Brain Injury --Webinar

The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and TBI (DCoE) will host a webinar, Stress and Anxiety Following TBI, as part of its monthly webinar series on  Feb. 12, 2015 at  1:00-2:30 p.m. EST

Sign up for the webinar by clicking here   

According to the sponsors, at the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the complex interaction between the effects of stress and anxiety during the recovery course of TBI.
  • Examine and select strategies for treating co-morbid symptoms with the core symptoms of TBI.
  • Discuss the integration of evidence-based practices into the assessment of stress and anxiety following TBI.

Here is the course description:

"Current research notes when injury or stress occurs, behavior reinforces the optimal biological conditions of survival. Similarly, when a brain injury occurs on the battlefield, the injured service member may experience both a TBI and a stress or fear response. If the threat or anxiety becomes overwhelming, the service member may revert to protective modes, including exacerbation of posttraumatic stress disorder, family conflict, alcohol or substance abuse, or other maladaptive reactions. The discussion will include a variety of evidence-based assessments and treatment strategies related to stress and anxiety following TBI."

 

February 7, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill—March 18, 2015

The Congressional Brain Injury Task Force and the Brain Injury Association of America have set aside Wednesday, March 18, 2015 as Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill.

 

The schedule of events for the day is:

10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Brain Injury Awareness Fair
First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building                                                                               

2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Briefing: Finding a "New Normal": Post-Injury Supports and Services That Make a Difference 
121 Cannon House Office Building

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Reception Celebrating Brain  Injury Awareness Month
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building                                   

Plan to attend to network with other national and federal agencies and to visit with your Members of Congress regarding key issues affecting brain injury. The Brain Injury Association of America web site under government affairs will post further information.

 

February 6, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Coping with Brain Injury--Brain Injury Association Sponsors Free Webinar

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is sponsoring a free webinar for individuals with brain injury and their families discussing strategies to assist in dealing with the consequences of brain damage.

 Brain Injured Moments
Thursday Feb. 12, 2015
3:00 p.m. Eastern, noon Pacific

According to the announcement of this webinar by the Brain Injury Association of America:

TBI survivors may experience intermittent problems in cognitive functioning that may make them feel that they are at the mercy of their injuries. Fortunately, most cognitive impairments caused by TBI are not constant and only cause trouble at certain times in certain places and follow predictable patterns.

 

In this webinar for people with brain injury and their families, Dr. Maria Romanas will discuss strategies to help you pay attention to, write down, and understand your "Brain-Injured Moments." By doing this, you can discover your own particular patterns of Brain-Injured Moments so that you can learn to anticipate them and even prevent them from occurring. This practical approach can help you gain control control, accelerate your recovery, and maximize your functioning.

To register click here

February 3, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NFL is sending wrong message to our nation's youth

Honored to be quoted in today’s New York Times on the dangers of football to our nation's youth. To Allay Fears, NFL Huddles With Mothers. Despite the marketing attempts by the NFL to create an illusion that football can be made safe, it cannot be. Football is a concussion delivery system!

 

As we approach the Super Bowl and the focus is on exciting and controversial new ads and whether the NE Patriots were culpable in the deflation of footballs, it might be better to concentrate on the disabling injuries sustained by players and the implications of the message that this new marketing scheme sends to parents and children about the safety of the sport.

 

 

January 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brain Injury Conference-Oregon and Washington

The Brain Injury Alliances of Oregon and Washington will be hosting The 13th Annual Pacific Northwest Brain Injury Conference 2015  “Living with Brain Injury & Neurological Changes: Thinking Outside the Box” on:

Thursday March 12th through Saturday March 14th 2015

The location of this year’s conference is:

Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel
8235  NE Airport Way
Portland, Oregon 97220 

You can obtain more information or to register by clicking here.

 

January 27, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Delaware Brain Injury Association-Announces Annual Meeting Date

The Brain Injury Association of Delaware will host its 24th Annual Brain Injury Conference on Thursday, March 12, 2015 from 8 AM to 4 PM at Dover Downs, 1131 N. DuPont Highway, Dover, DE  19903

For more information or to register go to the Brian Injury Association of Delaware web site

January 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Virginia Brain Injury Association: 14th Annual Conference: Opening Doors: Communities, Partnerships, Opportunities Brain Injury Association of Virginia

The Virginia Brain Injury Association has announced its 14th Annual Conference: Opening Doors: Communities, Partnerships, Opportunities Brain Injury Association of Virginia

Date and Location:
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Westin Hotel, Richmond, VA
Registration Deadline is February 27, 2015

Overview:

"This one-day event provides professionals, persons with brain injury, and caregivers an opportunity to learn more about current issues and resources for those involved with the brain injury community. Examples of session topics include: Prescribed Drugs and TBI, Assessing & Treating Co-occurring PTSD and TBI, Cognitive Linguistic Impairment After TBI, and Return to Learn after TBI."

More information:

Visit the Brain Injury Association of Virginia website  for more information and a detailed brochure.

January 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Vermont Brain Injury Association Studying Incompetence to Stand Trial as a Result of a Traumatic Brain Injury

In 2014, the Vermont legislature passed Act 158. Act 158 addresses the commitment of a criminal defendant who is incompetent to stand trial because of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). It provides the court with the authority to commit a criminal defendant who has been found incompetent to stand trial because of a TBI to the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living.

The Brain Injury Association of Vermont and Flint Springs Associates are conducting a research study to identify promising and/or evidence-based practices for treating individuals who are found incompetent to stand trial due to TBI or not guilty by reason of insanity in support of this change in legislation. The study focuses on reintegration into the community consistent with public safety.

 he Brain Injury Association of Vermont and Flint Springs Associates are seeking insights from brain injury organizations as part of this research effort. If you are able to help, please take a few minutes to respond to the questions below, or provide contact information for the person(s) who may be able to assist, and send them to:

Trevor Squirrell, Executive Director, Brain Injury Association of Vermont

STUDY QUESTIONS

1.    What happens to people with TBI in your criminal justice system who are unable to conform their behavior to the requirements of law? 

2.    Is there a process currently dictated by statute, in your state, to address individuals with TBI who are unable to conform their behavior to the requirements of the law?

3.    Do any programs, either institution and/or community based exist for justice-involved persons with TBI in your region/state?

January 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brain Injury Year End Legislative Update

The following year end legislative update was prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA)

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

Administration for Community Living (ACL)

The appropriations bill includes a new general provision to support the transfer of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), Independent Living, and Assistive Technology Act programs to the ACL in accordance with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which was signed into law in July.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Funding was reduced to $9.3 million (down $23,000) for the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) program that funds grants to states to increase access to service delivery and to state Protection & Advocacy (P&A) Systems to provide advocacy assistance to individuals with TBI.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH received a little over $30 billion. Several institutes received support in connection with the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative.

Congress noted that Comprehensive Rehabilitation Research Centers serve a high volume of Medicare and Medicaid patients with brain injury, strokes, multiple traumas, and wartime injuries. They included language to urge HHS to evaluate the current prospective payment rate with the goal of maintaining these centers of excellence and continuing the high quality of care provided by these centers.

The bill encourages HHS to investigate the development of new and better standards for testing sports equipment to ensure that athletes have state-of-the-art gear that significantly reduces sports-related brain injuries.

The NIH Rehabilitation Coordinating Committee (NIH RCC) was directed to host a trans-NIH State of the Science Conference on Medical Rehabilitation Research to develop and regularly update a trans-NIH plan for medical rehabilitation science and to better coordinate the grants to adhere to the definition of rehabilitation research recommended by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Medical Rehabilitation Research. BIAA has been a longtime supporter of legislative efforts to enhance the stature and visibility of medical rehabilitation research at NIH.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The bill includes $170 million for Injury Prevention and Control activities, including $6.6 million for TBI and $28.9 million for injury prevention activities.

Medicare Payment Advisory Board (MedPAC)

Current law requires that MedPAC be comprised of a mix of individuals with expertise in the financing and delivery of health care services and have a broad geographic representation. These include, but are not limited to, people with rural backgrounds and experience. The Government Accountability Office is directed to continue to follow the statute when making appointments to MedPAC.

Department of Education:

Rehabilitation - Client  Assistance Program

The bill includes $1 million in increased funding for Client Assistance State Grants to help people with disabilities obtain competitive, integrated employment through advocacy and the enforcement of their rights under the Rehabilitation Act.

Higher Education

The bill includes $2.5 million for a National Center for Information and Technical Support for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities and $11.8 million for the Model Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID).

Social Security Administration (SSA):

The bill includes $35 million for a disability early intervention initiative as part of the research and demonstration budget. This demonstration project will test innovative and evidence-based approaches to help individuals with disabilities who are not yet receiving Social Security disability benefit remain in the workforce. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is directed to work closely with the Departments of Labor, Education, HHS, and other agencies as appropriate to develop and administer the project, including determining the appropriate target population and the types of interventions or services to be tested. SSA is also to ensure that participation in any demonstration is voluntary and that individuals are not required to waive any of their rights under the Social Security Act.

Veterans TBI Care Improvement Act

The Senate also passed H.R. 4276, the Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Care Improvement Act, which amends the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. The act makes changes to the 2008 Assisted-Living for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (AL-TBI) pilot program to place veterans with these severe injuries in residential living programs. Among the provisions, the legislation replaces references to "assisted living" with the term "community-based brain injury residential rehabilitative care."

Provisions were included to alter the reporting requirements under the pilot program to assess the effectiveness of providing assistance to eligible veterans with TBI to enhance their rehabilitation, quality of life, and community integration. In accordance with the legislation, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs is to submit reports to the congressional veterans committees on the pilot program for each quarter occurring between Jan. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2017, with regard to:

•         the number of individuals who participated in the pilot program;

•         the number of individuals who successfully completed the program;

•         the degree to which pilot program participants and their family members were satisfied with the program; and

•         the interim findings and conclusions of the Secretary regarding the success of the program and recommendations for improving it.

Roughly 200 veterans have participated in the program since its inception. In August, Congress extended the AL-TBI program until 2017. BIAA has championed this program from the onset and has worked to continue its funding and viability.

ABLE Act

On Dec. 16, the Senate passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act and sent to the president for his signature. The ABLE Act allows for the creations of tax-exempt savings accounts for people born with disabilities or who are diagnosed with a disability by the age of 26. Families may set up accounts and deposit as much as $14,000 per year to pay for services that include transportation, health care, and other long term needs. Accounts can accrue up to $100,000 without impact on eligibility for government benefits, such as Social Security and Medicaid.

December 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Introduction to Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income following a Brain Injury--New Webinar

The Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey will be hosting a webinar intended to be an introduction to issues surrounding social security eligibility for brain injury victims. ersey

Date: Wednesday, January 14, 2015; 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

The New Jersey Brain Injury Alliance has described the content of this webinar as appropriate for nurses, parents, caregivers, or anyone who has sustained a brain injury.

According to the brain injury alliance, participants will learn:

* A short description of SSDI v. SSI,

* Preparing to Apply – what documentation is needed, specifically for brain injury,

* Submitting your application,

* And navigating the appeals process

 You can obtain further information regarding registration by clicking here.

 

December 12, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brain Injury Webinars for December

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is sponsoring two brain injury related webinars for the month of December 2014.  The following information has been received from BIAA:

Yoga and Neuropharmacology: A New Path Forward

Thursday, December 4, 2014
3:00 p.m. Eastern
12:00 p.m. (noon) Pacific

Yoga and Neuropharmacology may be more similar than you may think.
Join Eric Spier, M.D. and Sarah Adleman, PYT as they discuss how yoga and neuropharmacology can work together to provide a holistic approach to brain injury rehabilitation.

Registration closes Tuesday, December 2 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern,
2:00 p.m. Pacific

 

Comparing CBT and Supportive Psychotherapy for Treating Depression Following TBI|A Mitchell Rosenthal Memorial Research Series Live Webinar

Thursday, December 11, 2014
3:00 p.m. Eastern
12:00 p.m. (noon) Pacific

Please join Teresa Ashman, Ph.D., ABPP-Rp, FACRM, Director of Neurorehabilitation Psychology at the Shepherd Center, as she compares cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and supportive psychotherapy for the treatment of depression following traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Registration closes Tuesday, December 9 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern,
2:00 p.m. Pacific

To register for either webinar, click here.

 

November 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Contratulations to Brain Injury Association of America for securing passage of the Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act

The following legisilative update was prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the voice of brain injury in the United States: 

Traumatic Brain Injury Act

The TBI Reauthorization Act of 2014, S. 2539, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by unanimous consent on Nov. 13 and is on its way to the President for his signature. The bill was sponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Bob Casey (D-Penn.). In today's legislative environment, it was no small feat to pass this bill, which had strong bi-partisan support, including Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), who co-sponsored a similar bill in the House, and who co-chair the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force..

 

The bill authorizes funding through FY 2019 for grants to States and Protection and Advocacy Systems to improve access to rehabilitation and community services and to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct surveillance and public education programs. The bill also allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to move the program from its current agency at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to another agency within HHS. New provisions were added calling for the Secretary of the HHS to develop a TBI Coordination Plan and for CDC to conduct a scientific review of the management of children with the TBI.

 

BIAA, along with the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA) and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) support moving the program to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to join other disability and aging programs administered by the agency. As Policy Corner readers know, the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act of 2014, which was signed by President Obama in August, transferred several of programs from the Department of Education to the ACL, including the Independent Living Center, Assistive Technology, and the National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation Research. BIAA and its partners will work with appropriators to move the HRSA TBI programs to ACL as well.

 

November 21, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Proposed NFL settlement a bad deal for players, says attorney specializing in brain injury

Listen to my interview on The Pulse discussing the unfairness of the NFL Settlement.

November 20, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The NFL Settlement Hearing-We have some problems Houston

When Judge Brody , 15 minutes into the initial presentation of the terms of the settlement and why it was such a good deal interrupted that attorney for the NFL to ask what he meant when he used the term, “TBI” I knew that the 20,000 players who this settlement was supposed to be about were in big time trouble.

I can go on and on about how disgusted I was in listening to the class action attorneys describe what a great job they did and what a terrible case this was except I have to pause to ask the question, if it was such a bad case why was the NFL willing to cough up close to a billion dollars?

In the end, I am saddened to say that this settlement will be approved and the odds of ever getting to the truth of what the NFL knew and when they knew it will never be revealed.

You can read more of my thoughts  Brain Injury Attorney Slams Settlement

November 20, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy-not effective in treating post concussive brain injury according to new study

Over the years there has been much interest and controversy in the use of high pressure oxygen therapy (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) for the treatment of traumatic brain injury.

According to a new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association –Internal Medicine (JAMA Internal Medicine) oxygen therapy administered in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber is not any more effective than compressed air for the treatment of those suffering from post-concussive traumatic brain injury.

The research involved 72 service members with chronic post-concussive symptoms.  The researchers found that the service members who received high pressure oxygen therapy did not better than patients who were treated with only slightly pressured regular air leading the physicians to conclude that there was only a placebo effect for the use of oxygen therapy in both groups.

The research is the latest in a series of studies sponsored by the Defense Department to determine the effect of oxygen therapy following a traumatic brain injury.

November 17, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month

An estimated 2.3 million adults and 450,000 children in the United States currently suffer from epilepsy. 

Epilepsy or seizures are well known to be caused by accidents and brain trauma.  Traumatic epilepsy or traumatic seizure disorder is frequently induced by traumatic brain injury.  The epileptic seizure disorder may be triggered by brain injury whether mild, moderate, or severe.  Traumatic epilepsy may develop following brain injuries with or without losing consciousness.  Both penetrating and non-penetrating head injuries have been found to be the source of epileptic seizures in victims of traumatic brain injury. The risk of developing epilepsy increases with the severity of the initial brain injury.

Seizures can take place days, weeks or even months following a traumatic brain injury.

Attorneys frequently encounter posttraumatic seizure disorders in clients that have fallen, been have been struck by a falling object, or involved in vehicular accidents.  The mechanism of injury is diverse, and does not require actual physical contact between the head and another object, but may only involve violent motion of the brain within the skull from sudden acceleration or deceleration.  A history of a piercing brain injury or a brain hemorrhage should alert an attorney to the possibility that the trauma that the client has sustained might precipitate traumatic epilepsy.  In clients exhibiting symptoms of the post-concussive disorder, a referral to a neurologist to rule out traumatic epilepsy is recommended.

November 8, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brain Injury Association of America Caregiver Webinar

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has scheduled in new practical Webinar “Practical Strategies for Managing Deficit Awareness After Brain Injury” 

People are often discharged from rehabilitation before they have fully grasped how their brain injury affects them day to day. Deficit awareness is a key component in:

•         improving safety awareness;

•         willingness to participate in continuing rehabilitation;

•         use of compensatory strategies; and

•         improving emotional reactions to others.

This webinar will offer an overview of what "deficit awareness" is, and offer strategies and tools to help the family and the person with a brain injury better manage their deficits as they continue to recover.

The webinar will be broadcast on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern 12:00 p.m. (noon) Pacific time.

Registration closes Monday, November 3 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, 2:00 p.m. Pacific

For registration, click here.

October 16, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)