NASHIA: Washington Weekly, July 19, 2013

Weekly updates from the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators are sent to personal injury attorney Ian Mattoch regarding federal policy affecting persons with traumatic brain injury.  This information allows him to be kept current on resources available to his clients with traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and other catastrophic injuries.

Administration News
CDC Publishes a New MMWR on CDC Grand Rounds: Severe TBI in the U.S.
The July 12th Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), CDC Grand Rounds, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), highlights the problem of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States. It summarizes how public health efforts can reduce the incidence of severe TBI and mitigate their short- and long-term consequences through primary prevention, early management, and comprehensive approaches to rehabilitation and community reintegration for TBI survivors. In addition, the report outlines the need to improve surveillance, advance evidence-based strategies, and implement effective interventions to address this public health issue. This report is one of in a series of occasional MMWR reports titled CDC Grand Rounds. These reports are based on grand rounds presentations at CDC on high-profile issues in public health science, practice, and policy.

SAMHSA Awards Up to Nearly $4M in System of Care Expansion Planning Grants
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is awarding System of Care Expansion Planning grants totaling up to nearly $4 million. The purpose of these grants is to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to expand and sustain the system of care approach to providing services for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances and their families.  Click here for the list of grantees.

Federal Grants
NIA, PCORI Seek Applications for Falls Prevention Clinical Trials
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institute on Aging (NIA) is seeking applications from researchers for a clinical trial to prevent serious injuries resulting from falls in older people. “Serious injuries from falls, such as broken bones or traumatic brain injury, are a major reason for the loss of independence among older people,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. “This is a significant public health problem, greatly affecting older adults and their families – as well as the health care system.”

The request, part of an initiative by the new Falls Injuries Prevention Partnership between NIA and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), represents a unique collaboration joining scientists with clinicians and patients in pursuit of an effective strategy. PCORI will commit up to $30 million to fund one (1) five-year award, and NIA will administer the project, including the application process and peer review. A letter of intent is due by October 13th. Click here for the Request for Applications (RFA) issued by the NIA.

NIA is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and PCORI is authorized by Congress to fund research to provide information about the best available evidence to help patients and their health care providers make more informed decisions.


Federal Rules and Regulations
CMS Finalizes Rules for Navigators to Help Consumers Enroll in Health Insurance
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a proposed rule last Friday regarding the standards for Navigators, the in-person assisters in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces. State-based Marketplaces have the option of using this guidance or developing their own. The rule identifies training, conflict of interest standards, and standards for serving people with limited English proficiency and people with disabilities.

Navigators and similar in-person assisters will provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplaces, qualified health plans, and public programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CMS will ensure that all consumers who need Marketplace customer service can receive it from trained professionals. Millions of Americans will be eligible for new coverage opportunities through the Marketplaces beginning January 2014. Grant awards for Navigators in States with Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces will be awarded on August 15, 2013.

Marketplace consumers will also have access to assistance through services such as a call center, where consumers can receive help with the eligibility and enrollment process. The call center will provide referrals to the appropriate State or federal agencies, or other assistance programs including in-person assistance personnel, certified application counselors, and agents and brokers. The final rule also outlines the standards for certified application counselors, including training, qualifications, and requirements to ensure that they provide quality, sound, consumer-protective assistance.

In addition to English and Spanish, the call center provides assistance in more than 150 languages through an interpretation and translation service. Customer service representatives are available for assistance via a toll-free number at 1-800-318-2596 and hearing impaired callers using TTY/TDD technology can dial 1-855-889-4325 for assistance. To learn more about helping consumers apply and enroll in health coverage through the Marketplace, visit the CMS website.  To access the final rule released click here.


Reports and Studies
DOE Releases Study Showing Improvement in Special Education
A new study released by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) shows that a larger number of States are meeting the goal of providing special education services. States are graded based on a number of factors including whether or not special education evaluations are conducted in a timely manner, as well as dropout and graduation rates and performance on assessments. The education department said that 39 States met their obligations to serve students with disabilities over the 2011-2012 school years. The States that did not meet their obligations included: Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana and New York. Learn more from Disability Scoop.

Senator Harkin Releases Report on States and Olmstead Implementation
Yesterday, Senator Harkin (D-IA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a report entitled, “Separate and Unequal: States Fail to Fulfill the Community Living Promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act.” The report reveals that almost a quarter of a million working-age Americans remain unfairly segregated in nursing homes, and the number of working-age Americans with disabilities confined to nursing homes is actually growing. While progress has been made nationally, by 2010 only 12 States spent more than 50 percent of Medicaid funds on community-based care instead of institutional care.

The report found that, despite the Supreme Court’s decision on Olmstead, many States are still not making a commitment to provide individuals with disabilities the choice to live at home and in their own communities. View the press release and download the report on the Senate HELP Committee website.


Upcoming Meetings and Webinars
ABC and NIH to Hold Webinar on BRAIN Initiative
Through the efforts of the American Brain Coalition (ABC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will present information via a webinar on the NIH Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative to the brain-related patient advocacy community on Monday, July 22nd from 1:00 – 2:00 pm (EDT). Every ABC member is encouraged to have at least one member from their organization participate in what is hoped is the first of a series of ways the ABC can help keep the patient advocacy community informed and engaged around this exciting initiative. NASHIA is a member of the ABC.

The NIH BRAIN Initiative is part of a new Presidential focus aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain. By accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, researchers will be able to produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain that, for the first time, shows how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space. Long desired by researchers seeking new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders, this picture will fill major gaps in our current knowledge and provide unprecedented opportunities for exploring exactly how the brain enables the human body to record, process, utilize, store, and retrieve vast quantities of information, all at the speed of thought.

The presenter will be special guest speaker Kathy Hudson, PhD, NIH Deputy Director for Science, Outreach, and Policy, and the session will be moderated by Robin Elliott, American Brain Coalition Chair.  Click here to reserve your Webinar seat.

NEA Task Force Offers Webinar on Music Education and Neuroscience
On Thursday, July 25th, 2013 at 3:30 pm (EDT) the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development will offer a webinar focusing on music education and neuroscience. The Task Force is an alliance of 17 federal departments and agencies, including the Administration for Community Living, that encourage more research on how the arts help people reach their full potential at all stages of life. Other agencies include the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education, among others.

The Task Force has conducted a series of public webinars on compelling research and practices. Additionally, the group has begun a literature review of research on the arts and human development.  Click here for more information and/or to register for the webinar.

United Spinal Association to Host a Webinar on the Impact of the ADA
The United Spinal Association is hosting a webinar on Thursday, July 25th, 2013, from 3:00 – 4:00 pm (EDT), featuring a cross generational discussion about the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) then and now. This year marks the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While generations of people with disabilities who were old enough to know what this country was like before the passage of the ADA, a whole new generation of people born Post-ADA can’t help but wonder if the civil rights law has made much of an impact or difference in their lives and the lives of other young people with disabilities across the country. You’ll hear from the ADA pioneer and civil rights advocate who has been involved in the disability rights movement since its inceptions. Plus, you’ll learn firsthand about the experiences of two young professionals with disabilities. Click here for more information and to register.

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