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Barriers and Recommendations Report Available

Concerned by a lack of treatment and service options for brain injury survivors, more than one hundred of the most respected military and civilian leaders in brain injury treatment convened recently to address the crisis of brain injury in America. The resulting report, "Barriers and Recommendations: Addressing the Challenge of Americans with Brain Injury," demands major reforms within the military and civilian sectors. The public release of this report takes a hard-hitting look at available medical care, exposing the grim realities facing Americans with brain injury.

"Brain injury has created serious challenges for both the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)," the document begins. "These challenges exist because brain injury has been and continues to be a critical healthcare problem in America."

To read a draft of the final report, click here.

More than 5.3 million Americans live with a permanent disability from a brain injury, and 1.5 million Americans are injured each year - yet, there are precious few resources. Now, as brain injury becomes the most conspicuous and debilitating legacy of the Iraq war, veterans with brain injury, and civilians alike, are left without care - unless certain critical steps, outlined in the paper, can be taken.

"This report represents the bold views of our nation's top experts in brain injury" says Dr. Robert Voogt, chairman of the North American Brain Injury Society (NABIS). "By creating this list of barriers to treatment and offering it to the public, we hope to draw attention to the many difficult challenges facing Americans with brain injury."

The report calls for new classifications of brain injury that more accurately reflect its long-term impact on individuals. It also calls on the military and VA to partner with the civilian sector to form collaborations for higher responsiveness to the growing patient need. With regard to the insurance industry, the report demands reforms to realign industry standards, allowing coverage for brain injury treatment. Included in the report is a list of 18 barriers to treatment and a full recommendation offered for each.

"The problem of brain injury is too big for any one system alone to manage," says the report's editor, Michael Mason, an advocate for those with brain injury. "By uniting our efforts and collaborating where possible, we can bring the best care possible to wounded warriors and injured civilians alike."