Traumatic or Acquired Brain Injury Bill Passes the Senate
JUNEAU – SB 219, sponsored by Senator Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, is headed to the Alaska House of Representatives following its passage by the Senate April 1st. The bill creates a traumatic or acquired brain injury program and registry within the Department of Health and Social Services and relates to medical assistance coverage for traumatic or acquired brain injury services
“Alaska has one of the highest rates of brain injury in the nation especially among Alaska Natives, our returning military veterans, and the elderly. And yet we do not have an in-state program that deals specifically with brain injuries,” Senator McGuire said. “With Senate passage of SB 219, we have taken the first step toward reaching that goal.”
Martha Moore, Chair of the Alaska Brain Injury Network and member of ABIN since 1999, said “For the past ten years we have been making baby steps to try to build a TBI program in Alaska. Passage of this bill is a giant step that will institutionalize a TBI program and have all the agencies working together toward a common goal. Thanks to Senator McGuire and her vision, we can now begin to have a better way of serving the estimated 10,000 Alaskans living with TBI.”
Brain injury is a unique disability that needs a specific service delivery system that creates a structure where brain injury survivors, who are at risk for challenging behaviors, substance abuse, emotional impulsivity and more, can learn to manage these behaviors, moods, and emotions.
“Senate Bill 219 will help brain injury survivors by having case management services as an optional service for persons who qualify for Medicaid and by collecting valuable data on persons with traumatic or acquired brain injury,” explained Senator McGuire.SB 219 has received broad support with Senators Johnny Ellis, Dennis Egan, Linda Menard, Hollis French, Bettye Davis, Albert Kookesh, Donald Olson, Fred Dyson, Joe Paskvan, Kevin Meyer, Lyman Hoffman, Bert Stedman, Charlie Huggins, and Gary Stevens cosponsoring the bill.