The Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act of 2014, S. 2539, has been unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee (HELP Committee). The Hill reports that the Committee approved the bipartisan Act this July along with five other public health bills.
The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Reauthorization Act is intended to improve care for traumatic brain injury victims. According to the Senate Newsroom, the bill will help TBI victims by “supporting a variety of activities related to TBI at several agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services.”
Traumatic brain injury is a major public health problem, with rates of traumatic brain injury climbing steadily upward over the past decade. Treating brain injury can be extremely costly and often victims do not recover fully after a blow to the head. Senate Bill 2539 would help hospitals to ensure they have the resources to provide care for patients with TBIs.
Unfortunately, many traumatic brain injuries occur as a direct result of preventable accidents. Victims of TBIs due to falls, motor vehicle collisions and nursing home abuse need to understand their legal rights and take steps to pursue compensation from those responsible for injuries. A Charleston brain injury lawyer can help victims put together a claim that could result in full and fair monetary compensation so losses due to brain injury are covered.
Traumatic Brain Injuries and Public Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of emergency department (ED) visits due to traumatic brain injury has increased over the past 10 years.
The total combined rates of hospitalizations, ED visits and deaths due to brain injury has increased from 521 per 100,000 cases in 2001 to 615.7 per 100,000 cases in 2005 and to 823.7 per 100,000 cases in 2010.
Much of the increase in TBI cases was driven by the high number of emergency department visits due to TBIs. While the overall rates of people hospitalized by traumatic brain injury have remained relatively stable, TBI-related ER visits have increased by a greater percentage.
- In 2001, 82.7 out of every 100,000 hospitalizations occurred due to a TBI. The rate of hospitalizations due to TBI increased to 91.7 per 100,000 hospitalizations in 2010.
- By contrast, 420.6 out of every 100,000 emergency room visits occurred due to TBI in 2001 and this number had increased to 715.7 per 100,000 ER visits in 2010.
The dramatic upswing in ER visits resulting from TBIs may, in part, be driven by increased awareness that a blow to the head can have long-lasting physical consequences. Even a simple concussion can change brain function for months or years after the incident, affecting memory and cognition.
The Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act of 2014 recognizes both the serious consequences a TBI can have on the life of individual victims and the costs that TBIs can have to society. In addition to reauthorizing programs providing resources to hospitals and medical facilities, the Act also aims to increase focus on managing brain injuries in young children.
While children and the elderly may be especially prone to falls and other accidents likely to cause brain injury, individuals of any age group can be affected and suffer lifelong impairments. When a TBI occurs and injures victims, it is important to determine if someone was to blame for causing the head injury. A Charleston accident lawyer can help those affected by brain injury pursue a claim for compensation from those liable for causing the harm.