Brain Injury Providers Alliance Calls on Texas Legislature to Prevent Immediate Gap in Services

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A Texas Criminal Court of Appeals decision stunned brain injury advocates when it ruled last week that a State of Texas dedicated fund, which provides medically-necessary services to Texans with brain and spinal cord injuries, is unconstitutional. The result is a catastrophic loss of funding required to continue a brain injury treatment program.

“The long-term success of the CRS program is widely praised for its quality clinical outcomes as well as a significant financial return on investment to the state of Texas,” commented Eric Makowski, VP of Advocacy Affairs at Mentis Neuro Health.

A Texas Criminal Court of Appeals decision stunned brain injury advocates when it ruled last week that a State of Texas dedicated fund, which provides medically-necessary services to Texans with brain and spinal cord injuries, is unconstitutional.

The Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services (CRS) program is administered by the Health & Human Services Commission, and benefits all Texans impacted by brain injury – including crime victims and veterans. The Court agreed with the appellant, Orlando Salinas, finding the dedicated fund directing revenue to the CRS program from misdemeanor and felony court costs to be an unlawful tax, and therefore unconstitutional. In a ruling on Wednesday, March 8, the Court ordered districts to stop collections for CRS and one other that offers counseling to abused children within 40 days. This loss of funding is an immediate threat to the CRS program and may result in the end of a program serving more than 1,000 brain injured patients each biennium.

Texas legislators are currently in Session and working diligently to write the 2018-19 budget. Without identifying alternative funding for the CRS program, Texans facing brain injury will experience a significant gap in services and state agencies will incur burdensome costs associated with these untreated brain injuries. Alternative funding from general revenue is now the program’s only hope for survival. With a projected $4+ billion shortfall in the next biennium, this is certainly not an easy quest.

“The long-term success of the CRS program is widely praised for its quality clinical outcomes as well as a significant financial return on investment to the state of Texas,” commented Eric Makowski, VP of Advocacy Affairs at Mentis Neuro Health, and a member of the Texas Brain Injury Providers Alliance.

A white paper produced by the CORE Foundation in 2010 found that quality post-acute brain injury rehabilitation – either through private pay and/or CRS – saves the state an estimated $300 million dollars annually. Emergency intervention by the Legislature is needed to continue to fund the HHSC CRS program and prevent a social and economic catastrophe for the state. The Texas Brain Injury Providers Alliance calls on the Texas Legislature to help those who need this one-time service, and save CRS with sufficient funding.

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About the Texas Brain Injury Providers Alliance The Texas Brain Injury Providers Alliance (formerly known as the Brain Injury Alliance of Texas), is a trade organization whose members are private providers specializing in post-acute brain injury rehabilitation. Individually and collectively, they are longtime leaders in this highly specialized field, at both the national and state level.

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Deanna L. Kuykendall
Texas Alliance of Brain Injury Providers
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Brain Injury Association of America
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