Brain injuries affect at least 2.5 million children and adults in the U.S. each year. Any brain injury, regardless of severity, can change the way a person thinks, acts, moves and feels. Even so-called “mild” injuries can have devastating consequences that require intensive treatment and long-term care. New Yorkers with brain injuries face many problems on their journey to recovery, often falling through the cracks of the health care system when their injuries are misdiagnosed and misunderstood.
BIANYS advocates for brain injury survivors so that everyone has access to the services they need. These are just a few of the issues we are working on in 2019.
Join with us in working for change! Contact your representatives in the NYS Senate and the NYS Assembly and tell them why brain injury matters. Become a BIANYS member today and visit our Advocacy Tools page to learn how to take part in our efforts!
Priority Issues and Legislation
Continuum of Care for People with a Traumatic Brain Injury
New Yorkers with brain injuries deserve to get the help they need from the time of their injury to the time they integrate back into their community. BIANYS is proposing a plan that details five recommendations to address the needs of the brain injury as they make this transition:
- Enhance public knowledge of traumatic brain injuries and their impacts
- Improve access to community-based services
- Provide service coordination for non-Waiver participants
- Enhance TBI provider training to improve diagnosis and treatment
We propose a trifold approach to the problem:
- Prevention and Outreach: Create a statewide outreach and education campaign focused on prevention and connecting New Yorkers with brain injuries to resources they need.
- Treatment and Rehabilitation: Create a care management program that includes outreach and education targeting health care providers, fostering a community of excellence.
- Support Services: Make sure people with brain injuries return to the least restrictive setting in their communities.
Amend the 2011 New York State Concussion Management Awareness Act
The 2011 Concussion Management Act should be amended to focus on identifying and implementing paths to achieve a successful Return-to-Life for all New Yorkers that have sustained a concussion. The law should also be amended to be more inclusive to all New Yorkers with brain injuries. These changes will address the current disparate nature of brain injury services and strengthen advisory and coordination channels. Proposed changes include:
- Expand the Concussion Management and Awareness Act to apply to non-public schools and competitive/travel youth sports.
- Mandate Concussion Teams in all school districts.
- Require academic Return-to-Learn AND Return-to-Play policies.
- Require annual education in concussion management for Medical Directors at every school district.
- Require schools to have an Athletic Trainer available to students.
Establish a Brain Injury Trust Fund
There is an acute need for services for New Yorkers with brain injuries. Right now, almost 3,000 New Yorkers receive services through the Department of Health’s Home and Community-Based services TBI Waiver. Most New Yorkers with brain injury, however, are not eligible for this waiver even as they need specialized services they are unable to pay for. A Brain Injury Trust Fund should be established to be the payer of last resort, providing security and improved access to needed services.
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.