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U.S. Representative Giffords’ Office Closing Gap in TBI Care

Staff members in the employ of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) have become key advocates in the campaign to ensure health-care guarantees for Americans who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI). They are advocating that other citizens should be entitled to the same high quality care that the congresswoman is receiving in her recovery from a January shooting.
Last month, Giffords’ chief of staff released a letter urging Health and Human Services to prioritize defining the minimum package of “essential benefits” in the new health-care law that will be required of insurance plans for individuals and small businesses. This new law is expected to be operational by 2014.

Giffords’ Staff members are also planning to join encourage the Defense Secretary to expand the range of “cognitive rehabilitative therapies” that Tricare, the military’s insurance program for active-duty and retired service members, covers in cases of brain injury.

The disparity in coverage of brain injury cases is alarming. It is not uncommon for patients with bare-bones insurance coverage to be discharged after only a week or two in the hospital. As a result, significant medical complications will probably arise. Muscles might begin to contract, or seizures may occur.

Even Americans in Staten Island with more substantial insurance often get shortchanged, which reduces their likelihood of returning to work or even making a complete recovery.

An interested based in New York shares what he recently learned from the president of the Brain Injury Association of America. He says “a person with a moderate to severe injury would likely need at least a month of continuous therapy at a rehabilitative hospital. Exercises would focus on restoring muscular and other physical functions, speech, psycho-social capacity and cognitive functions, such as forming memory and maintaining attention. Next, a patient might spend six to eight weeks at a transitional rehabilitation unit, regaining life skills such as bathing and cooking. Finally, once home he might need rehabilitative therapy three times a week for at least another month.

Such comprehensive rehabilitative care is expensive – at least $8,000 per day for hospital-based “acute rehabilitation,” up to $2,500 for “post-acute residential care” and as much as $1,000 per day for other treatment programs. But still these costs are still a bargain when comparing them to the cost of long-term care for someone who doesn’t receive proper care and ends up permanently disabled.

Proper TBI care costs money. When TBIs are incurred by others or at the hands of negligent corporations, contact a New York Brain Injury Attorney to help you garner the funds necessary for as full a recovery as possible.

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