Brain Injury Council to Speak at State Capitol
OLYMPIA - The Traumatic Brain Injury Council will testify Friday, Dec. 10, in Olympia on the urgent need to retain and improve services to the thousands of people affected by TBI in Washington State every year.
About 5,500 Washington residents are hospitalized and about 1,300 residents die from TBI annually. This figure has been rising for the past decade, in part because of soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq to Ft. Lewis, but also due to falls, motor vehicle related injuries, concussions from youth sports and domestic violence.
“With the 2007 passage of the TBI Act, the legislature acknowledged that finding appropriate TBI related services was at times like playing a shell game without a pea. The TBI Council, created in the act, and DSHS have been working hard to remedy that situation,” said council member Mark Stroh, executive director of Disability Rights Washington.
“We now have a comprehensive plan and we need to implement it and keep moving forward. We know the fiscal reality is dire; but not addressing this problem will only compound it, and cost more long-term. We are pleased Rep. Dickerson, chair of House Human Services Committee, has scheduled this opportunity for the TBI community to be heard,” said Stroh.
The Act-designated TBI account has, over three years, funded a statewide TBI information line, two major conferences, and a resource coordination project that has served more than 100 individuals and more than 250 families across the state, , among other things.
The council aims to incorporate the legislature’s temporary 2010 amendment into the TBI Act, which expanded the council’s spending flexibility, to allow for housing projects for people with TBI, expansion of support group services, establishment of training and outreach for first responders working on TBI cases and improved awareness of TBI-related health insurance options.
The council needs the law changed to eliminate date language, provide direction for TBI account funded activity and to develop new TBI related supports and services using public and private entity partnerships.
Those testifying at the hearing will include: Stroh; Tommy Manning, an individual with TBI whom the 2007 act was named after; Samuel Browd, a University of Washington assistant professor of neurological surgery; Laura Dahmer-White, a clinical neuropsychologist; Maralise Hood Quan, executive Director of the Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution; Timm Lovitt, U.S. Army veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and Andrea Okomski, a Seattle attorney and caregiver to a son with traumatic brain injury.
The hearing, will be held before the House Human Services Committee in Room D of the John L. O’Brien building, the first or second hour between 10 a.m. and noon.
For more information on the Traumatic Brain Injury Council, go to: http://www.tbiwashington.org.
For more information on Disability Rights Washington, go to: http://www.disabilityrightswa.org.
(206) 324-1521 x 217
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Disability Rights Washington (DRW) is a private non-profit organization that protects the rights of people with disabilities statewide. The mission of DRW is to advance the dignity, equality, and self-determination of people with disabilities. DRW works to pursue justice on matters related to human and legal rights.