Beall Legislation to Ensure Appropriate Insurance Coverage For Acquired Brain Injury

February 19, 2013

For Immediate Release: Feb. 19, 2013                                               

SACRAMENTO – To provide appropriate insurance coverage and medical care for acquired brain injury survivors, Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) today introduced Senate Bill 320, the Brain Injury Access to Treatment Act.

“SB 320 will enable access to treatment of acquired brain injury across a spectrum of specialized licensed facilities that offer appropriate and cost-effective care in California,” Beall said. “Enactment of this legislation would ensure coverage on par with other major medical conditions, which have no time limitations on treatment.”

Current rehabilitation provisions have set restrictions and are intended for orthopedic conditions, rather than neurologic injury. As a result, patients can incur physical, mental and financial hardships that also affect their families, the workplace, and the community.

“Many patients are left with various levels of disease and disability, due to inconsistent access to treatment,” said Mark J. Ashley, Sc.D., CBIST, and Chairman of the Board of the Brain Injury Association of California, which is strongly supporting the bill. “Without proper care, patients can become disabled, indigent, and impoverished. Institutionalization then places a huge financial burden on the public sector.”

Acquired brain injury is an alteration in brain function initiated by an external force or a vascular, toxic, metabolic or infectious cause. More than 100,000 Californians visit emergency rooms annually for traumatic brain injury and 25 percent do not return to work. Denial of treatment increases the state deficit by shifting costs to public health and government programs.

Current practices by some insurers promote denial of highly specialized acute and post-acute rehabilitation. SB 320 will grant patients access to the most effective neurologic recovery and achieve the greatest reduction of disability.

Contact: Rodney Foo, (408) 286-8318