BIAV works with policy makers on the federal, state, and local levels to grow services for people affected by brain injury. We help persons with brain injury, family caregivers, and providers to stay informed about policy priorities and provide assistance with contacting legislators to ask for their support on crucial issues affecting the brain injury community.
Legislative Update 2018
Thanks to those who attended budget hearings across the state and spoke about our need for more services and supports. Our request to include money to fund in-state behavioral services did not make it into Governor McAuliffe’s’s last budget, so we have been working with other advocates to find sponsors for budget amendments that could increase funding for brain injury services and drastically improve the continuum of services in Virginia. If you want to read the document outlining them, click here Needs Statement FINAL 1.11.18.
The General Assembly is back in town, and we have a new Governor! Gov. Ralph Northam is a pediatric neurologist, and was the inaugural winner of BIAV’s Legislator of the Year Award, for his work on laws to protect student-athletes from concussion. We are excited about the new administration and new faces in a new (and temporary) General Assembly Building.
And speaking of a new building, we will not be holding our traditional Awareness Day at the General Assembly this year. The new building doesn’t have the meeting space we need, it’s not terribly accessible, and we’re just not sure how things would work. BUT we are going to have a “Virtual Awareness Day” and figure out what our options may be for the rest of the time they’re in this building (maybe 4 years). Be on the lookout here and on Facebook for more info about it; we’ll have something posted about it no later than the end of the month.
We are also watching a number of bills related to veterans, the education of children with disabilities, parental rights of person with disabilities, mental health laws, Medicaid expansion and others. We’ll update you on those as needed if we feel your advocacy is necessary.
Congress failed to extend the Medicare therapy caps exception process by the end of 2017, so a hard cap was placed on physical therapy and speech-language pathology services combined, effective Jan. 1. The previous exceptions process permitting medically necessary services above the cap will no longer apply. Please consider contacting you member of Congress and asking him or her to extend these unacceptable therapy caps.
We Need Your Help
Please remember that advocacy is a year-round activity and we hope you’ll consider contacting your legislators throughout the year to make sure that brain injury is at the front of their minds.
There are many ways you can support BIAV’s advocacy efforts:
- Sign up for our e-newsletter if you have not already. As a subscriber to the e-newsletter if a call to action is needed you will be the first to hear!
- Tell your story! Whether you tell it to BIAV, to a local brain injury provider, to a member of the press or the General Assembly (we have provided a sample letter to help you get started), it is the real life day to day struggles and successes that make our needs known and compel people to action!
- Our year-round advocacy efforts take considerable resources. Your generosity will provide BIAV with the personnel to be present at important meetings; if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu!
Those with brain injury deserve better access to services and supports and you can be a part of changing a community’s destiny. Be informed, ask questions and decide to act; it’s not nearly as hard as you might think it is and your calls, emails and visits to legislators make a difference!
We are always available to discuss these issues with you or answer any questions you might have, so give us a call or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Useful Links
- Brain Injury: A Guide for Virginia’s Policy Makers
- 2013 Virginia Statewide Brain Injury Services and Needs Assessment Executive Summary (we have provided the executive summary as the full document is over 200 pages; if you would like a copy of the entire assessment, please contact the BIAV office)
- Virginia Brain Injury Council
- Brain Injury Association of America Advocacy and Government Affairs
- Virginia Board for People with Disabilities
- Disability Law Center of Virginia