Most Americans can’t get Giffords’ therapy

But that may be changing…

Shot congresswoman’s staff urges HHS secretary to push accessibility

Wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is benefiting from world-class treatment in Houston that most Americans don’t have access to, and her office knows it.

Her staff on Thursday called on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to change that, asking her to apply the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in a way that would make similar coverage to what Giffords receives more accessible.

Sebelius and her staff will be defining an “essential benefits” package that insurers participating in insurance exchanges will be required to provide by 2014.
Federal workers’ benefits

Giffords currently benefits from broad coverage through federal workers compensation because she was shot in the head Jan. 8 while meeting with constituents in Tucson, Ariz. The type of acute rehabilitation she receives – involving speech, occupational and physical rehab – costs about $8,000 a day, according to the Brain Injury Association of America. Post-acute rehabilitation can range in cost from $600 to $2,500 daily. The expenses leave the treatment options well out of reach for most patients whose insurers won’t pay for the services.

While some insurers cover traumatic brain injury treatment, their limits on some rehab services often leave patients stagnant at times when they could be rapidly recovering, advocates say.

The benefit to Giffords from those services have been clear in recent months, said Pia Carusone, the Arizona congresswoman’s chief of staff.

“I’ve got an up-close-and-personal understanding now of how speech and physical and occupational rehab really makes a difference, and I just can’t imagine a patient in a similar position who wouldn’t be able to receive the care because an insurance company would argue that it’s not needed,” Carusone said.

Read the full article here… >>

While it is discouraging to think about the state of how things are, still, it’s encouraging that people in positions to make a difference are actually speaking up.

If only these kinds of changes could happen without someone getting shot in the head.

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You’re not alone

Here are almost all the search terms people used to find their way to this blog in the past week. As you can see, people want to know about this subject. If only I had more time to speak to all of these…

Search Views
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This just in — video by and about mild tbi

John is  mild TBI survivor since Sept 2005 and he’s sharing this with us here. His son Chris (21) filmed this talk he’s given to a bunch of people — medical professionals, case managers, and grad students in training for Speech-Language Pathology — called “You Look Great!” — Inside a TBI. It’s more or less the starting point for the book he’s writing of the same title.

He has posted the 1st 5 parts on YouTube. Part 6, the finale, should go up shortly. They’ve received wonderful and encouraging feedback from survivors and their spouses and caregivers about how the video helps them describe what they’re going through too.

Part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9Xso4qGdlI

Part 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPNd_oXx4Ec

Part 3:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-1q1bfeH20

Part 4:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvLYuz8i9Kk

Part 5:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpFJMgyWRvM

Part 6:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZMkKKCNEy8
Thanks John!

This is totally awesome — we need all the info we can get!