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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: December 5, 2012 10:44 AM
From: Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf
To: All Senate members
Subject: Advisory Board on Acquired Brain Injury
I am reintroducing Senate Bill 997, legislation that provides for the statutory creation of an Advisory Board on Acquired Brain Injury within the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

In 2001, the Department of Health formed the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Advisory Board as part of being the recipient of a federal TBI Planning Grant awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The TBI Advisory Board is composed of survivors, family members, advocates, service providers, and persons working in various departments that provide services to persons with brain injuries. Through the federal grant funding the advisory board has performed a statewide needs assessment and developed a state action plan to address goals. The current goals include expanding public knowledge and providing training to specific groups of professionals, and continuing to build coordination with other service delivery systems.

While the TBI Advisory Board has been very active and productive, it does not have adequate scope or authority. The Department of Health was denied a federal brain injury grant due in part to the lack of statutory authorization of the TBI Advisory Board. To help address this concern, my legislation would establish this advisory board in law. The Advisory Board on Acquired Brain Injury would consist of twenty-five members who shall be appointed by the Secretary of Health. The board shall include family members of acquired brain injury survivors; individuals living with an acquired brain injury; representatives from the Departments of Aging, Public Welfare, Labor and Industry, Insurance, Health, Corrections, and Education; representatives from the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania and/or Acquired Brain Injury Network; and community-based organizations in acquired brain injury service provisions and advocacy. The term of office of each member of the advisory board shall be three years and the members of the board shall elect a chairperson, vice chairperson and secretary. The advisory board shall meet at least four times a year.

As you may know, TBI is caused by a direct blow to the head or being shaken violently. TBI may be caused by falls, motor vehicle crashes, bicycle accidents, sports and recreation injuries, shaken baby syndrome, gunshot wounds and assaults. The signs and symptoms of TBI can be subtle and may not appear until days or weeks following the injury or may even be missed. Based on CDC data, it is estimated that each year over 100,000 Pennsylvanians, including 20,000 children between 0-14 years of age, experience traumatic brain injuries in the Commonwealth.

Acquired brain injury (ABI) is an injury to the brain secondary to either trauma, stroke (including aneurysms), post surgical complications, and/or certain acquired disease processes. The most common causes of non-traumatic ABI are tumor, stroke, aneurysm, near drowning, infections of the brain, and ingestion of toxic substances.

This legislation is supported by the Pennsylvania Brain Injury Coalition which is comprised of the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania, the Acquired Brain Injury Network of Pennsylvania, the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, and members of brain injury support groups throughout the Commonwealth.

Introduced as SB136