Congressman John Barrow (D-GA) today joined with more than 70 bipartisan colleagues to introduce The National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan Act (PABI Plan Act).
The PABI Plan Act, also referred to as H.R. 2600, will fund a seven-year initiative to implement the National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan (PABI Plan) in all fifty states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The PABI Plan will develop a seamless, standardized, evidence-based system of care that is universally accessible for the millions of families who have a child or young adult suffering from the #1 leading cause of death and disability for American youth: brain injury. The PABI Plan was created by the International Advisory Board of the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation.
"No parent ever wants to hear that their child has a brain injury, but if that ever happens they want to know that the best available information and care is going to be available to them," said Congressman Barrow. "This bill will ensure that there is a clearing house in every state where caregivers can get the latest technology and most up-to-date information on how to treat brain injuries. I commend the work of the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation in helping put together this network, and I applaud their commitment to improving the outcomes for the three quarters of a million young people who suffer brain injuries in this country each year."
Patrick Donohue, the founder of the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation and father of Sarah Jane Donohue (namesake of the foundation), said "This is historic legislation for the millions of American youth who suffer from the number one leading cause of death and disability, brain injury, as well as their families. This bill backed by Congressman Barrow would ensure families won't have to reinvent the wheel when their child is impacted with a brain injury."
H.R. 2600 would create a national network of 52 State Lead Centers of Excellence, one for every state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, with the responsibility of implementing the PABI Plan based on their own state's unique demographics, geography, laws, infrastructure, financing and causes of brain injuries without duplicating current practices. The legislation will cover the entire continuum of care from prevention, treatment in acute medical facilities, reintegration back into the schools, communities and homes and then transitioning into an adult system of greater independent living.
The legislation will also focus on individuals with a "mild" traumatic brain injury which accounts for more than 80 percent of brain injuries each year, commonly referred to as concussions, as well as rural communities which account for 25 percent of the population and have higher incidence rates of brain injuries. For example, the 52 State Lead Centers would help children suffering from sports-related injuries by providing additional information, resources and care. The PABI Plan covers all acquired brain injuries from birth through 25 years of age while the brain is still in its developmental stages, which includes more than half of the young veterans returning from war with a brain injury since the average age of a veteran with a brain injury is 19.
H.R. 2600 is the largest initiative in American history focusing on pediatric acquired brain injury, however, it was written so it does not create any new federal agency, it does not create any new federal positions and it does not increase the federal budget. It was also written so the federal commitment will sunset at the end of seven years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 765,000 American youth aged 25 and younger enter an emergency department every year with a new traumatic brain injury. More than 80,000 are hospitalized and over 11,000 die annually. For more information about the PABI Plan or the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation please visit www.TheBrainProject.org/lettertosarahjane.php.