BIANYS: The Voice of Brain Injury

Below are highlighted areas of the BIANYS Public Policy Priorities for 2016. For the full outline of 2016 priorities, please review the BIANYS Public Policy Priorities document. Please note, the Priorities are an attempt to focus our efforts on key issues, not an exclusive list of the only issues with which BIANYS is concerned. Additional BIANYS Policy Statements and past action details are available on the Additional Advocacy page.

Join with BIANYS in working for change! Become a BIANYS member today and visit our Advocacy Tools page to learn how to take part in our efforts!

Priority Issues and Legislation

TBI and NHTD Medicaid Waiver Programs: The TBI and NHTD Medicaid Waiver programs are scheduled to transition to the Medicaid Managed Care system in January 2018. BIANYS believes that the Waivers provide essential services to New Yorkers with brain injury and the proposed transition would limit or eradicate these services. Resources on how to take action and background on the issue are available on the Managed Care page.

Uniform Assessment System (UAS-NY): The NYS Department of Health has implemented a Uniform Assessment System to evaluate the level of care for individuals receiving certain services via Medicaid. There are some significant concerns regarding the ability of this tool to assess cognitive disabilities, impacting individuals with brain injury to a greater extent than individuals with other disabilities. To learn more, visit the UAS-NY page.

New York State TBI Act: The NYS Traumatic Brain Injury Law (Chapter 196 of the Laws of 1994) was enacted in 1994 and established the NYS traumatic brain injury program, identified the NYS Department of Health as the lead agency, and created the Traumatic Brain Injury Coordinating Council (TBISCC). Much has changed in the almost 20 years since its enactment, requiring amendments to the law. BIANYS is leading efforts to pass legislation updating the law and making brain injury prevention, rehabilitation, and support services a priority within New York State government. Chief among the BIANYS recommendations are: establishing an Office for Brain Injury Programs; reformulating composition of the TBISCC and making it advisory to the Governor; updating the responsibilities of the Department of Health as the lead agency; and making the law more inclusive to all with brain injury. These changes would address the current fragmented nature of brain injury programs and strengthen the advisory and coordination vehicles resulting in improved services for New Yorkers with brain injury. [S.6575 (DeFrancisco) / A. 1437A (Jaffee)]

Office of Community Living: S. 7247 (Seward) / A. 9479 (Weprin)
This bill establishes the Office of Community Living in New York State to address the needs of the disability community in accessing community-based services.

Concussion Initiative: In 2011, New York State passed the Concussion Management and Awareness Act, a law intended to protect students from the long-term effects of concussion, which are often the result of sports activity related to schools. BIANYS was actively involved in the passage of the law and the creation of regulations, and continues to monitor its implementation. We are organizing a Concussion Initiative to explore the issues related to concussion and issue recommendations on supporting people in returning to life after concussion, as well as address any gaps in policy on the issue.

Federal Legislation

The Disability Integration Act: S. 2427 (Schumer) / H. 5689 (Gibson)
The Disability Integration Act is a civil rights bill seeking to encourage community living for all people with disabilities. It strengthens existing disability integration laws, regulations, and court decisions related to access to community living, with stress on transportation and integrated employment, establishes oversight by the Department of Justice and input from the Department of Health and Human Services, includes nondiscrimination clauses, and legislates that community-based services must be offered to individuals with disabilities prior to institutionalization, with regular updates. BIANYS has issued a memo of support for the Act. Contact your Congressional Member in the House of Representatives to ask for their support.

The Federal TBI Act: Enacted in 1996, amended in 2000, and reauthorized in 2008 and 2014, the Federal TBI Act provides funding for TBI programs and supports the development of services. Advocacy to Senators and Representatives seeking funding for the programs created by the TBI Act is encouraged.

More information on the Federal TBI Act and other initiatives on the federal level is available on the BIAA Advocacy & Government Affairs web page

Get Involved

Please lend your support to these initiatives by contacting your representatives and asking them to support these bills, or to work with us to create new services. Resources are available on the Advocacy Tools page to help you locate your representative and speak out on this issue.

Past Action

BIANYS submitted testimony to the Assembly Committee on Health, Assembly Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, and Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities for the public hearing held October 8, 2015, available for download: BIANYS Testimony Assembly Public Hearing Oct 2015