Brain Injury Support in Congress

Ridge Policy Group, a top DC lobbying firm, is excited that brain injury policy has momentum in the 117th Congress. Our client, the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA), is seen as a key leader on brain injury policy across the federal government. With several asks ranging from increased funding for the CDC National Concussion Surveillance System to support for the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Law Enforcement Training Act, this effort will help Americans from San Diego to New York.

Funding for the CDC National Concussion Surveillance System

We are excited to have helped secure $4 million in the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill for the NCSS. The TBI Program Reauthorization Act of 2018 (Pub. Law 115-377) authorized $5 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center to establish a National Concussion Surveillance System (NCSS) to better collect data on the incidence of brain injury at a national level.

While TBIs are considered a significant public health issue in the United States, existing national data underestimate the prevalence of brain injury. CDC cites a 2016 study in a pediatric healthcare system that found nearly 80% of evaluated concussions and mild TBIs were treated outside of the hospital setting.

CDC conducted a NCSS pilot, which found that adult respondents reported more than 30 times as many TBIs in the past 12 months compared to estimates using ED data, children and adolescents reported approximately 17 times as many TBIs in the past 12 months as compared to estimates using ED from national datasets.

TBI continues to be the signature injury among our nation’s service members returning from active combat. More than 400,000 troops have been diagnosed with mild TBI since 2000. This number will certainly increase with a NCSS as identification and detection methods become more accurate.

Additionally, co-occurring mental health and substance abuse are common among persons who sustain a TBI. Between 30-50% of people with TBI are injured while they intoxicated by alcohol and about one-third were under the influence of other drugs. This is from the limited data that we have.

Last year, the NCSS received $500,000, which will likely allow them to add one or two questions to existing surveys. While this is important, we need this Surveillance System scaled nationwide to provide the first-ever comprehensive national estimates of TBI in the United States.

Support the TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act (H.R. 2992/S. 4286)

Ridge Policy Group helped to secure the introduction of the TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act by Senators Ossoff and Grassley and Representatives Pascrell and Bacon. The House passed the legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support, and Ridge Policy Group is supporting the efforts in the Senate by engaging with Republican Senators in support of the bill.

TBI survivors are highly prevalent within the criminal justice system, with some studies showing that 65% of offenders report a TBI. In a review from the National Conference of State Legislatures, they found that an average of 41% of youth within the juvenile justice system had experienced one or more TBI(s). Despite the high occurrence of brain injury, TBI Crisis Intervention Training is often not offered to law enforcement and public safety professionals.

It is important for law enforcement professionals and law enforcement agencies to have a working understanding of TBI. Injuries of this nature are often hidden among people with cognitive/intellectual disabilities, spinal cord injury, and those with behavioral health challenges. Language comprehension and response varies among individuals with brain injuries. This can impact their ability to optimally cooperate with law enforcement individuals during these encounters. For example, poor basic language skills and slower processing speed could impair a survivor’s ability to follow and answer a line of questions.

The legislation would implement several measures to better train law enforcement and first responders for interactions with individuals suffering from TBI. As symptoms of TBI and PTSD can be difficult to identify, we need for first responders to be better prepared to de-escalate any inappropriate behaviors or other issues and to be able to refer them to professionals for help.

The bill would also collect one-time surveillance of law enforcement professionals who may have sustained a brain injury on the job or elsewhere. Right now, we have no comprehensive data on brain injury and are therefore unable to easily support law enforcement professionals.

The Protecting Survivors from Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 2022 (S. 3963/ H.R. 7301)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults have experienced domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence. Preliminary research has found brain injuries to be common among victims of intimate partner violence.

A 2020 Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found that data on the overall prevalence of brain injuries resulting from intimate partner violence are limited. The GAO report recommended that Health and Human Services (HHS) develop and implement a plan to improve data collected on the prevalence of brain injuries resulting from intimate partner violence and use this data to inform HHS’s allocation of resources to address the problem.

There is currently no data collection on traumatic and other brain injuries as a result of domestic or sexual violence. HHS is in the process of adding three relevant questions to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), which will be an improvement.

There is currently no data collection on traumatic and other brain injuries as a result of domestic Data collection and reports that provide a broader understanding of brain injuries is necessary to create the most effective response to this public health issue.

Ridge Policy Group is helping to support the Protecting Survivors from Traumatic Brain Injury Act, introduced by Senators Cortez Masto and Ernst and Representatives Pascrell and Bacon, to direct HHS to collect data on the connection between brain injuries and domestic and sexual violence. HHS would be required to create and implement an additional data collection project similar in design to and under the umbrella of the NISVS to better understand the prevalence of brain injuries related to domestic and sexual violence. This data collection process will allow for a more in-depth understanding of the prevalence of brain injuries as a result of domestic and sexual violence. It will also inform researchers and service providers about the kinds of resources and support survivors need.

Being a top government affairs’ firm, RPG has worked hard to increase funding for moderate or severe TBI. Getting funding to increase awareness and help police training is important. Basic training is a long-term solution. Head injury, head trauma, and damage to the brain are a leading cause in death and disability. Increasing funding to help identify brain injury will benefit our country’s public health greatly.

Ridge Policy Group, a top DC lobbying firm, is excited that brain injury policy has momentum in the 117th Congress. Our client, the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA), is seen as a key leader on brain injury policy across the federal government. With several asks ranging from increased funding for the CDC National Concussion Surveillance System to support for the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Law Enforcement Training Act, this effort will help Americans from San Diego to New York.

Funding for the CDC National Concussion Surveillance System

We are excited to have helped secure $4 million in the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill for the NCSS. The TBI Program Reauthorization Act of 2018 (Pub. Law 115-377) authorized $5 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center to establish a National Concussion Surveillance System (NCSS) to better collect data on the incidence of brain injury at a national level.

While TBIs are considered a significant public health issue in the United States, existing national data underestimate the prevalence of brain injury. CDC cites a 2016 study in a pediatric healthcare system that found nearly 80% of evaluated concussions and mild TBIs were treated outside of the hospital setting.

CDC conducted a NCSS pilot, which found that adult respondents reported more than 30 times as many TBIs in the past 12 months compared to estimates using ED data, children and adolescents reported approximately 17 times as many TBIs in the past 12 months as compared to estimates using ED from national datasets.

TBI continues to be the signature injury among our nation’s service members returning from active combat. More than 400,000 troops have been diagnosed with mild TBI since 2000. This number will certainly increase with a NCSS as identification and detection methods become more accurate.

Additionally, co-occurring mental health and substance abuse are common among persons who sustain a TBI. Between 30-50% of people with TBI are injured while they intoxicated by alcohol and about one-third were under the influence of other drugs. This is from the limited data that we have.

Last year, the NCSS received $500,000, which will likely allow them to add one or two questions to existing surveys. While this is important, we need this Surveillance System scaled nationwide to provide the first-ever comprehensive national estimates of TBI in the United States.

Support the TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act (H.R. 2992/S. 4286)

Ridge Policy Group helped to secure the introduction of the TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act by Senators Ossoff and Grassley and Representatives Pascrell and Bacon. The House passed the legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support, and Ridge Policy Group is supporting the efforts in the Senate by engaging with Republican Senators in support of the bill.

TBI survivors are highly prevalent within the criminal justice system, with some studies showing that 65% of offenders report a TBI. In a review from the National Conference of State Legislatures, they found that an average of 41% of youth within the juvenile justice system had experienced one or more TBI(s). Despite the high occurrence of brain injury, TBI Crisis Intervention Training is often not offered to law enforcement and public safety professionals.

It is important for law enforcement professionals and law enforcement agencies to have a working understanding of TBI. Injuries of this nature are often hidden among people with cognitive/intellectual disabilities, spinal cord injury, and those with behavioral health challenges. Language comprehension and response varies among individuals with brain injuries. This can impact their ability to optimally cooperate with law enforcement individuals during these encounters. For example, poor basic language skills and slower processing speed could impair a survivor’s ability to follow and answer a line of questions.

The legislation would implement several measures to better train law enforcement and first responders for interactions with individuals suffering from TBI. As symptoms of TBI and PTSD can be difficult to identify, we need for first responders to be better prepared to de-escalate any inappropriate behaviors or other issues and to be able to refer them to professionals for help.

The bill would also collect one-time surveillance of law enforcement professionals who may have sustained a brain injury on the job or elsewhere. Right now, we have no comprehensive data on brain injury and are therefore unable to easily support law enforcement professionals.

The Protecting Survivors from Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 2022 (S. 3963/ H.R. 7301)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults have experienced domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence. Preliminary research has found brain injuries to be common among victims of intimate partner violence.

A 2020 Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found that data on the overall prevalence of brain injuries resulting from intimate partner violence are limited. The GAO report recommended that Health and Human Services (HHS) develop and implement a plan to improve data collected on the prevalence of brain injuries resulting from intimate partner violence and use this data to inform HHS’s allocation of resources to address the problem.

There is currently no data collection on traumatic and other brain injuries as a result of domestic or sexual violence. HHS is in the process of adding three relevant questions to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), which will be an improvement.

There is currently no data collection on traumatic and other brain injuries as a result of domestic Data collection and reports that provide a broader understanding of brain injuries is necessary to create the most effective response to this public health issue.

Ridge Policy Group is helping to support the Protecting Survivors from Traumatic Brain Injury Act, introduced by Senators Cortez Masto and Ernst and Representatives Pascrell and Bacon, to direct HHS to collect data on the connection between brain injuries and domestic and sexual violence. HHS would be required to create and implement an additional data collection project similar in design to and under the umbrella of the NISVS to better understand the prevalence of brain injuries related to domestic and sexual violence. This data collection process will allow for a more in-depth understanding of the prevalence of brain injuries as a result of domestic and sexual violence. It will also inform researchers and service providers about the kinds of resources and support survivors need.

Being a top government affairs’ firm, RPG has worked hard to increase funding for moderate or severe TBI. Getting funding to increase awareness and help police training is important. Basic training is a long-term solution. Head injury, head trauma, and damage to the brain are a leading cause in death and disability. Increasing funding to help identify brain injury will benefit our country’s public health greatly.

Written by

Ridge Policy Group

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