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Rep. Giffords office pushes for accessible TBI rehab options

In a previous post we discussed the problems that many Boston hospital patients have finding proper medical treatment for their traumatic brain injuries. Brain injuries are often very serious and but hard to detect. A small bruise or tear of the brain may be overlooked by a negligent physician and have many long term effects on a patient.

Traumatic brain injuries frequently occur as a result of a car crash or other accidents where the head is struck. Common indications that a car accident victim may have a brain injury include the development of headaches, memory loss, sleep disorders, mood swings, or slurring of words.

One of the most well known traumatic brain injury victims of is congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Representative Giffords suffered her brain injury during a shooting spree at a shopping mall.

Giffords is still undergoing intensive rehabilitation and has unlimited access to world-class rehabilitation care because she was injured on the job and therefore eligible for the coverage under the federal Workmen's Compensation Act, USA Today reports.

Giffords office is now lobbying the Obama Administration to make such state-of-the-art rehabilitation care available to a greater number of people. Giffords' office believes that traumatic brain injury rehabilitation services should be considered essential benefits under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Without rehabilitation services many brain injury victims fail to make adequate recoveries and languish in nursing homes.

Keith Cicerone, director of neuropsychology at the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute said that although rehabilitation treatments are expensive, studies indicate that providing appropriate care to brain injury patients is cheaper than paying for nursing home care or 24-hour home care.

Source: USA Today, "Gabrielle Giffords' office puts focus on brain-injury care," Steve Sternberg, 4/8/11

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