Advocates Call for Passage of Brain Injury Plan Act

A recent editorial in the Spokeman-Review argued for the passage of a proposed piece of federal legislation that would target aiding victims of and preventing youth traumatic brain injuries. These injuries have always been problematic, but our Chicago brain injury attorneys have seen the public awareness of these issues increase over the past few years. This is likely caused by more high-profile stories about systemic instance of these brain injuries arising, such as in youth sports and in young military combatants. In addition, scientists are just now beginning to unlock some of the mysteries of the brain, allowing them to better understand how the harm occurs, when it occurs, and why. In that way injuries that otherwise might never have been identified are now within the understanding of a growing body of medical information of the subject.

With growing public awareness comes more calls for policymakers to take action to help tackle the issues. In Washington D.C. that call for action has taken the form of House Resolution 2600. The bill was spearheaded by the father a now 6-year old victim of shaken-baby syndrome-a problem that is rooted in brain trauma. The bill calls for common sense coordination to better identify ways to prevent and treat brain injury victims. As the proponents note, brain injuries are cumulatively much more damaging than any single disease-affecting 80,000 young American each year, killing 11,000 minors annually.

Yet, for the seriousness of the problem, diagnosis and treatment of the situation has been inconsistent. H.R. 2600 seeks to correct this problem by identifying and disseminating best practice information to be used by health care professionals and involved parents. It is hoped that the spreading of this information will go a long way in bringing uniformity to the treatment and prevention of head trauma in youth.

More specifically, the legislation calls for a seven year timeline to streamline effective diagnostic and treatment practices. Brain injury centers would be set up to coordinate the effort, collect data, and share information. The bill does not mandate a particular course of care for victims but instead it simply works to better identify what actually improves the life of victims and what doesn’t. Under the current plan the funding for the project will be carved out of discretionary funds already given to the Department of Health and Human Services. In that way it is budget neutral. Long-term the program is sought to be transferred to each individual state.

The bill appears to have widespread support among lawmakers. There are current over 100 co-sponsors of the legislation. The list of political supporters crosses all aisles, with some of the more ardent liberals and strident conservatives lining up to stand with those hoping to address the issue. The bill, also known as the National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan Act is expected to pass both the House and Senate when it is released from committee later next year. Advocates hope that it is ready for a presidential signature as soon as this summer. Each Illinois brain injury lawyer at our firm fully support all common sense measures to help victims of these tragedies, coordinate medical care, and disseminate information which will prevent future victims.

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