Letter to the Editor

Support for Cognitive Rehabilitation for Brain Injury Survivors

Dear Editor,

I am writing to support important legislation that will help survivors of brain injury.

In 2009, my life came to a halt when I was hit by a snowboarder in Aspen, Colorado. The snowboarder ran into eight instructors and went straight through us like a bowling ball.

I knew right away that I was hurt badly. I had torn my ACL and MCL, but it took months before doctors realized I had also sustained vertigo and a traumatic brain injury.

While most people know the importance of physical rehabilitation after you injure your knee, few people realize how important cognitive rehabilitation is after you injure your brain. Of all the surgeries and therapies I received, I think my cognitive rehabilitation made the most difference.

A traumatic brain injury can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, not everyone who has experienced a traumatic brain injury has access to cognitive rehabilitation. I was lucky to have Mass Health, which covered these services, but most private insurance plans don’t cover these medically necessary treatments.  I also feel that the therapy should last much longer or have annual check ins with therapists to fully benefit.

There is legislation at the State House –  S.502/H.2166: Improving Lives by Ensuring Access to Brain Injury Treatment –that would change that.  This bill will help survivors, families, and communities impacted by acquired and traumatic brain injury access needed healthcare by requiring commercial health insurance carriers to cover the cognitive rehabilitation services necessary after brain injury.

The North End is lucky to have such strong leadership at the State House from Representative Aaron Michlewitz and Senator Joseph Boncore. Both are on the committee that is reviewing this legislation, and Representative Michlewitz serves as chair. I urge them, as a constituent, an advocate and as a brain injury survivor, to support this bill.

Linda Whittle

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