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Washington, DC— Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Bob Casey (D-PA), together with Representatives Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), released the following statements after introducing the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Reauthorization Act of 2018 in the Senate and House of Representatives. The legislation extends the federal TBI program through 2024. It also authorizes resources to boost the CDC’s recent efforts to launch a National Concussion Surveillance System as a means to fill longstanding data gaps and provide a better estimate of the TBI burden.

“The CDC has reported that this year alone, about 2.5 million children and adults will experience a traumatic brain injury,” Hatch said. “We know TBI is a serious problem, but we fail to grasp its severity and scope. Our bill will change that. By reauthorizing the TBI program, our legislation will extend important research, education, and advocacy efforts to help us better understand the nature of brain trauma and reduce the prevalence of these injuries going forward.”

“I am pleased to work with a bipartisan group of my colleagues on this reauthorization of the TBI Act,” said Casey. “This important legislation provides much-needed support for individuals and families living with TBI, and also builds on the CDC’s work to more accurately determine the prevalence of concussion and TBI so that we can improve our prevention and treatment efforts.”

“Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) effect millions of people every year; from those in our veteran community to those in youth sports to their families,” Rooney said. “Throughout my ten years in Congress and as chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, I have been a staunch advocate in raising awareness for TBIs. The reauthorization and modernization of the TBI program will ensure the research, education, and advocacy efforts for these injuries will continue. I want to thank my colleagues, Congressman Bill Pascrell and Senators Casey and Hatch, for their efforts in advancing this bill which will help us better understand TBIs and help mitigate and treat these injuries going forward.”  

“I am proud to introduce this critical bipartisan, bicameral reauthorization of the Traumatic Brain Injury Act,” said Pascrell, Jr, the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. “For the last 18 years, I have fought to advance research and treatment for TBI because our athletes on the ballfield and our brave soldiers on the battlefield deserve more. While we have a long way to go, the advances in technology since Congress first started having this conversation can bring us closer to a world where no one must endure the consequences of a brain injury. This goal will take the right investments and partnerships, and this legislation does just that. For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be able to implement a study to see how many people, both young and old, have sustained a brain injury, which will give us critical insight into this problem. This new TBI Act also modernizes how the government oversees TBI research, treatment, and prevention. And it provides an adjustment to account for the long overdue increase in funding for TBI that I fought to pass in the FY 2018 Omnibus last year. I look forward to working with my fellow Co-Chair of the TBI Task Force Congressman Tom Rooney, as well as Senators Casey and Hatch to ensure this legislation passes Congress and heads quickly to the President’s desk.”

The Traumatic Brain Injury Program Reauthorization of 2018 is supported by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) and the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA).

Background

In 1996, Senator Hatch worked with Senator Ted Kennedy on the original TBI Act to help limit the suffering, death, and long-term disability that results from TBI. The legislation marked the beginning of a multifaceted federal endeavor to address the needs of persons with TBI and their families. Today’s TBI program maintains that original framework of prevention, education, access, and protection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducts projects to reduce the incidence of traumatic brain injury. Through the Administration for Community Living (ACL), the TBI State Partnership Grant Program helps states and territories to build service infrastructure and improve access to services and supports. This bill: 

  • Reauthorizes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveillance activities and projects to reduce incidence of TBI. It also extends grants to states for TBI systems, and grants to protection and advocacy (P&A) systems, through the Administration for Community Living (ACL). ACL’s TBI State Partnership Grant Program helps states increase access to rehabilitation and other services for individuals with TBI, and its TBI Coordinating Center provides technical assistance to grantees. P&As work to ensure that all individuals with TBI and their families will have accessible, available, acceptable, and appropriate services and supports.
  • Authorizes the National Concussion Surveillance System (NCSS) at the CDC to better estimate the incidence of TBI across the lifespan at a national level. The CDC has taken steps to develop the NCSS, which is an effort that aligns with the TBI law’s intent, recommendations made by the National Academies, and proposals included in previous budget requests. The system would have the capacity to improve understanding of the full range of circumstances leading to TBI, and to track healthcare utilization and services received after a TBI.
  • Designates authority to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) for the state partnership grants and P&A grants. The TBI Reauthorization Act of 2014 allowed the HHS Secretary to review oversight of the TBI program and found that the federal TBI Program’s goals closely align with ACL's mission. As a result, the state partnership grants and P&A components of the federal TBI Program transitioned from HRSA to ACL on October 1, 2015.