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Florida offers funds for patients with TBI and spinal cord injuries

Florida's $31.5 million agency, the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program, was established to help patients who suffer from brain damage and spinal cord injuries. However, many people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and spinal cord injuries have not been receiving the help they desperately need under the program. Otherpatients were, in fact, offered services that they did not need.

However, legislators have recently been persuaded to shift spending to programs that do actually help those suffering from brain injuries. The Florida legislators agreed to fund $3 million to services that will directly benefit people with spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.

Those funds, together with the help of an additional $3.8 million in Medicaid funds that would otherwise support the expense of residential care for these patients, will allow many of the patients to live in their homes and receive the help that they greatly need. It is expected that this shift in funding will help to support 260 Florida residents suffering from TBI and spinal cord injuries, almost half of the number of patients currently on the waiting list for assistance.

Some of the money is being diverted from consultants and a non-profit organization, the Brain Injury Association of Florida. The head of the Brain Injury Association says that the loss of money for her agency will negatively affect people with brain injuries. She says her agency served 5,000 on their help line and another 50,000 people visited their website. She also warns that because the money is set aside for both TBI patients and people with spinal cord injuries, it is possible that people with other brain injuries will not be served.

The people who have been instrumental in urging the Florida legislators to make the shift in spending are very hopeful about the future. The newly approved money could help their loved ones who have been suffering and who are on the waiting list to receive aid.

Source: The Sun-Sentinel, "Lawmakers shift funds for services to those with brain injuries," Jane Musgrave, 4 June 2011

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