U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell. Jr. (D-NJ-8), co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, proudly applauded the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) recommendations regarding treatment that should be available for people who sustain brain injuries. Today, the IOM recommended to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that their definition of medical necessity under their essential health benefits regulations be flexible and take into account medical services that produce incremental health benefits even if there are added costs.
The recommendation follows efforts in April by Rep. Pascrell and the staff of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ-8) to urge Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to ensure all Americans with traumatic brain injury will have access to quality, affordable care through the Affordable Care Act.
"This is a major step forward toward closing the co-called treatment gap among people who sustain a brain injury," said Pascrell. "Whether we are talking about soldiers on the battlefield, children on the ball field, or any other American, people with brain injuries deserve the best possible chances to get better and resume their lives. That's what the Affordable Care Act is all about. That's one of the many lessons we have all learned from the bravery of Congresswoman Giffords this year. I want to thank her and her staff for their commitment to this work on behalf of all Americans. I look forward to continuing the effort until this benefit becomes the law of the land."
An important statement Rep. Pascrell made on the House floor was cited in the report on page 5-26. Pascrell has argued that necessary medical services aren't merely to cure disease, but for any patients needing rehab care, should also include, as he stated on the House floor: "items and services used to restore functional capacity, minimize limitations on physical and cognitive functions, and maintain or prevent deterioration of functioning."