For years, those suffering from traumatic brain injuries and their family members have been saying that West Virginia needs to do more to support head injury survivors. Now, after a long battle, the West Virginia Supreme Court will hear an appeal regarding whether or not the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources should be required to improve its services to those recovering from brain injuries in Kanawha County.
In the initial court decision, which is currently being appealed, a West Virginia judge ordered that the county ask the WV legislature for funding for caring for people with TBI. In addition, the court ordered that the county apply for Medicaid waivers for people with traumatic brain injuries – waivers that would allow them to receive treatment and rehabilitation without being institutionalized. Currently, half of the states in the union have such waivers.
Many, including those on the West Virginia Traumatic Brain/Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Fund Board (which is not funded by the state), point out that those with traumatic brain injuries require special care, help with everyday tasks, and other help that is not needed for those with other types of injuries. These special needs, they believe, require special programs and special support from the state.
Car accidents and slip and fall accidents are the two most common ways that people suffer serious head injuries. Many traumatic brain injuries have long-term effects that include physical, emotional, and cognitive disabilities.