Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A follow up on TBI

I mentioned a few days ago that Rep. Giffords is fortunate to have all the indicated rehabilitation services for her traumatic brain injury paid for. Most people do not. In fact, JoNel Aleccia of MSNBC is on the case. She reports that about 2/3 of the 275,000 people hospitalized with TBI are sent home with no further medical treatment -- just like I told you, but without the quantitative estimate. And even those who do get some services don't get enough.

Of those who do receive care, it’s likely to be far less than they need — or expect. Most people with private or public health insurance assume that they’re covered for traumatic injury and the rehabilitation to recover from it — but they’re wrong, [Mark] Ashley said.

“We estimate that fewer than 4 percent of patients who need this care actually get it,” said Ashley, who is co-founder and president of the Centre for Neuro Skills, which operates centers in California and Texas. “In the last several years, more policies have been written that exclude rehabilitation altogether.”

Now this is an odd form of discrimination. Yes, it can be expensive, and long term -- but so is cancer treatment, or treatment for chronic kidney disease. We wouldn't tolerate insurance companies selling policies that don't cover cancer treatment -- or at least I don't think we would but who knows what the champions of Freedom™ who now control the house and the nightly news will do.

Living with a brain injury is awfully tough. These people deserve better.

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