Brain Injury Alliance wants to see a streamlining of care services

08/17/2016 04:00 PM

FRANKFORT – Advocates for Kentuckians suffering from traumatic brain injuries would like to streamline Kentucky’s current system of care so that the state can better serve those with brain injuries.

According to a 2004 University of Kentucky survey, 202,000 or 5 percent of all Kentuckians suffer from brain injuries.

Those with brain injuries tend to suffer with physical cognitive and emotional issues, impulsive control disorders, substance abuse, family disorders, and unemployment.

Kentucky’s current system for those with brain injuries includes the Department of Medicaid Services, Department for Aging and Independent Living, and the Department for Behavioral Health Development and Intellectual Disability.

Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky advocacy director Mary Haas told members of the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare on Wednesday that the multi-layer approach adds layers of bureaucracy for families to navigate and causes services to be hindered by a lack of coordination, communication, and policy decisions that conflict with other departments.

“This new division will have a unified mission, purpose and will be able to coordinate the work of the ABI Medicaid waivers and the TBI Trust Fund,” Haas said.

There was also a call to recognize that brain injuries are a progressive chronic condition that requires lifetime treatment.

Diane Schirmer, director of Brain Injury Services, Newcare ADT, told committee members that understanding that fact is key to effectively treating the patient.

“Neurological damage associated with a brain injury is not static, it doesn’t stop with the event or the illness, “ Schirmer said. “It is progressive.”

In addition, the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky Military Traumatic Brain Injury Program works independently, and with other veteran service agencies, to actively seek out Kentucky’s veterans and their family members, affected by a mild Traumatic Brain Injury, and connect them to resources they need in order to maximize their recovery and future success.

About Don Weber

Don Weber joined cn|2 when it launched back in May 2010 and soon became a reporter for Pure Politics. He is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University and has spent many years covering everything from politics to sports. Don says he loves meeting new people everyday as part of his job and also enjoys the fact that no two days are the same when he comes to work. Don Weber can be reached at donald.weber@twcnews.com.

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