Brain Injury Association of America--Legislative Update

The following legislative update has been prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the nation's voice for persons with a brain injury

TBI Stakeholder Meeting with the Department of Health and Human Services

On Tuesday, June 9, BIAA staff and other TBI stakeholders met with leadership from the Department of Health and Human Services to discuss elevating the Federal TBI State Grant Program and Protection and Advocacy Program from Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA) to the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

In the reauthorization of the TBI Act, which was signed into law in November 2014, discretion was given to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on which agency should administer the program.  The TBI stakeholders believe the Administration for Community Living is the proper home for the TBI program because its mission is to maximize the independence, well-being, and health of older adults, people with disabilities across the lifespan, and their families and caregivers. Individuals who have sustained a TBI need continued supports and services across the lifespan. By elevating the TBI program, stakeholders anticipate State agencies and Protection and Advocacy organizations would be better able to coordinate with and leverage programs and resources at the state and federal levels to improve services to individuals with brain injury and their families. 

In addition to the federal agency leaders and staff and stakeholder organizations, Alyssa Penna, legislative director for Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.), who is co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, attended the meeting.

Pascrell, Rooney Amendment to Restore $25M to TBI Program Passes House of Representatives

On Wednesday, June 10, the House of Representatives passed an amendment offered by U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Co-chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Caucus, to the 2016 Defense Appropriations Act that would restore $25 million from the Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research Program.  The defense appropriations bill cuts $25 million from the TBI program, representing a decrease of 20% from last year's funding level.

The Psychological Health and TBI Research Program supports the DOD Psychological Health and TBI Center of Excellence in its efforts to educate service members and their families, enhance clinical and management approaches, and facilitate other vital services to best serve the needs of our service members impacted by TBI and psychological health problems. TBI continues to be the signature injury among our nation's service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 300,000 troops have been diagnosed with mild TBI since 2000, a number that continues to increase as identification and detection methods become more accurate.

National Institutes of Health Names Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

On June 11, National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the selection of Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., as the Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). He has served as Acting Director of the NINDS since October, 2014.

In announcing the appointment, Dr. Collins recognized Dr. Koroshetz' role in the creation of the StrokeNet, a national clinical trial network for research in stroke treatment, prevention, and recovery as well as his role as point person for traumatic brain injury research at the NIH, and Co-founder of the NIH-Uniformed Services Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (TBI research center).

Dr. Koroshetz serves as co-chair of the NIH BRAIN Initiative. He was instrumental in establishing the NIH Office of Emergency Research. He is the NINDS representative to the federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee; Chair of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee and the NIH Pain Consortium, and Co-chair of the Common Fund Undiagnosed Disease program.

As the new Director of the NINDS, Dr. Koroshetz will oversee an annual budget of $1.6 billion and 1141 scientists, physician-scientists, and research administrators. The Institute supports research by investigators in public and private institutions across the country, as well as by scientists working in its intramural laboratories and branches in Bethesda, Maryland. Since 1950, the Institute has been at the forefront of U.S. efforts in brain research, with studies in areas ranging from the structure and function of single brain cells to research on the causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and, most recently, the translational research that is helping to bridge the gap.

Before coming to NIH as the NINDS Deputy Director in 2007, Dr. Koroshetz was a Harvard Professor of Neurology, Vice Chair of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Director of Stroke and Neurointensive Care, and a member of the Huntington's disease unit. He was also a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and led neurology resident training at MGH from 1990 until 2007. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Koroshetz graduated from Georgetown University and received his M.D. from the University of Chicago. He trained in internal medicine at the University of Chicago and in both internal medicine and neurology at MGH, after which he did postdoctoral studies in cellular neurophysiology at MGH and the Harvard neurobiology department.

NINDS is the nation's leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The mission of NINDS is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.

NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.

June 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tractor Trailer and Bus Crashes lead to tragic injuries

Tractor-trailer bus collisions are among the worst that occur on busy American highways.  Because of the relative size of the two vehicles in such a collision, the injuries are catastrophic, often with deadly consequences.

It is essential for anyone injured in such a devastating collision to seek competent legal counsel immediately, to protect his or her rights and the rights of their entire family.   Too often people wait to retain counsel, believing that the owners of the bus and tractor-trailer companies will do the right thing.  In most cases, the transportation companies and their insurance carriers are at the scene looking for any loophole to escape responsibility.  This is why it is essential that victims of these horrific crashes hire the most experienced crash/collision personal injury lawyers to handle their case, attorneys with proven records of accomplishment.

At DeCaro and Kaplen, LLP, our partners have dedicated their lives to representing victims of bus and tractor-trailer crashes.  Most recently, our New York personal injury attorneys Shana De Caro and Michael Kaplen, in collaboration with New Jersey personal injury lawyers Robert Bratman and Michael Donahue of Stark and Stark, represented an Indian family in the United States for a summer vacation when their tour bus was involved in a violent crash on its way to Niagara Falls The bus left the roadway, rolled over and proceeded into the woods.  Our lawyers are founding members of the prestigious interstate bus accident litigation group. 

When the tour bus came to a stop, one member of the family was dead and two were seriously injured.  Our lawyers quickly filed suit and brought our combined knowledge and experience in this area of litigation to bear in hiring the leading experts in the field of bus and tractor-trailer crashes.  Even though these clients lived thousands of miles from the site of the crash and the location of the lawsuit, they were informed at all stages of the legal battle fought on their behalf in the American Courts.  Almost two years from the date of this tragic collision, justice was achieved for the Indian family in the form of a multimillion-dollar settlement. The perseverance of the attorneys at De Caro & Kaplen, LLP  and Stark and Stark combined as a matchless legal team.

 

Recent events involving tour bus crashes emphasize the need to retain competent legal counsel without delay,   For legal assistance contact the our bus crash attorneys toll free at    1 866 272 4652.  Further information on our firm can be obtained at http://brainlaw.com/vehicle-accident-lawyers/  You can email us at Michael@brainlaw.com

 

 

 

 

June 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury Association New York State Annual Conference and Professional Conference

The Brain Injury Association of New York State (BIANYS) will host its 33rd Annual BIANYS Conference, featuring keynote speaker Gary Busey. Mr. Busey speaks all over the country about the challenges and triumphs of living every day with a Traumatic Brain Injury.

Dates: June 4-5, 2015 at the Albany Marriott, Albany, NY

Further information:  click here.

On June 4, BIANYS, the association will also  present the 2nd annual Professional Symposium, highlighting
research and rehabilitation services for individuals with brain injury which I am honored to co-chair. Learn
from distinguished voices in the field.  Information on the professional symposium can be obtained by clicking here.

 

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

Concussions can have permanent consequences

A study published this week in JAMA Neurology – assessed the brains of 28 retired National Football League (NFL) players who suffered a concussion with loss of consciousness.

 The study took brain scans of the players and a control group.  The study authors found that the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved with memory was smaller in the athletes who suffered a concussion with loss of consciousness as compared to a control group.

Although an individual can sustain a concussion without any loss of consciousness, this study is an important finding regarding the long term consequences of a concussion where there is a documented loss of consciousness.

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

Promising New Stroke Detection System Developed

When it comes to diagnosing a stroke, there is a medical saying, “Time is Brain.”  This should convey that it is crucial to diagnose and treat a stroke as soon as possible to preserve brain function.  It is crucial that stroke victims begin appropriate treatment within 3 to 4 ½ hours after the onset of a stroke to have the best chance for a good outcome.

Up to now, patients must be transported to a hospital, have a CT scan performed, have this CT scan read by a competent radiologist and then have tPA medication ordered, usually by a neurologist.  Unfortunately, this all takes time and if proper staff is not available at the hospital, critical time is lost.

A report from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) states that researchers have developed a new computer program to detect strokes on CT scans with amazing accuracy.  The program can detect whether the patient has an ischemic stroke (blood clot) or a hemorrhagic stroke (bleed).

The report states that the program’s accuracy is 90%, which is similar to the accuracy of medical professional but with the benefit that the computer can make a much faster determination.

Our brain injury law firm has represented many clients who have been victims of medical malpractice because their stroke symptoms were improperly diagnosed or proper treatment was not timely administered. 

 

 

May 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CDC Updates on Traumatic Brain Injury

    The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation released a special issue highlighting work from CDC and CDC’s partners to prevent traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to help people better recognize, respond, and recover if a TBI occurs. These studies present a clearer picture of TBI in the United States and the progress in the field.

Some key findings include:

•         Online Training Effectiveness: CDC and the National Federation of State High School Association’s concussion course online was effective in increasing concussion-related knowledge across a wide range of individuals.

•         Sports and Recreation TBI: About 7% of all sports and recreation-related injuries treated in United States emergency departments were TBIs.

•         Data Sources: New sources of TBI-related data on emergency department visits and hospitalizations will improve the ability to examine subpopulations most at risk for TBI.

•         Unemployment: About 60% of people (ages 16 to 60) who were discharged from inpatient rehabilitation following a TBI between 2001 and 2010 were still unemployed two years after their injury.

•         Motorcycle TBI death: Motorcycle crash patients with a TBI were 3 times more likely to die in the emergency department compared to those without a TBI.

You can review the special issue of the Journal by clicking here .

 

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

Congratulations to New York Personal Injury Lawyer, Shana De Caro

Congratulations to my partner, Shana De Caro who was selected as a Top Women Attorney in Metro New York as published in New York Times, March 2015

Shana is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America and the Board of Directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.  She has been named a New York Super Lawyer for the past two years by her peers.

Together our practice consists of representing individuals who have sustained severe personal injury and brain damage as a result of motor vehicle accidents, bus and truck collisions, construction site accidents, unsafe buildings, medical malpractice and hospital malpractice.

More information on our practice can be obtained at De Caro & Kaplen, LLP

De Caro super laywer plaque (3)

May 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Team Physician: Legal Liability for Concussions and Brain Injury

 

I am honored to be able to address The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) 83rd Annual Scientific Meeting on Saturday, May 2, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

 

I will address this prestigious group of neurosurgeons on their role and legal responsibility for concussion and brain injury upon assuming the role of a team physician for youth sports.

 

My presentation is part of a half day special session “Neurosurgeon Team Physician” designed to provide an introduction for practicing neurosurgeons to become involved in the care of athletes in their community. Presenters will discuss topics such as concussion diagnosis and management, pre-participation screening for neurologic conditions, sideline and game management, how to work with athletic trainers and other sports medicine providers and spine and peripheral nerve problems in athletes.

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 248,418 children (age 19 or younger) were treated in U.S. emergency departments (ED) for sports and recreation-related injuries that included a diagnosis of concussion or TBI.  From 2001 to 2009, the rate of ED visits for sports and recreation-related injuries with a diagnosis of concussion or TBI, alone or in combination with other injuries rose 57% among children (age 19 or younger).

 

  

April 28, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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)