It is no secret that medical treatment is expensive. Many people prolong going to the doctor when they have a cold or the flu because they are worried about the cost. However, when people suffer from traumatic brain injuries, they do not have a choice about whether they will go to the hospital, and the bills they will face are often much larger.
Many people who suffer from debilitating injuries will need intensive treatment for many years, if not the rest of their lives. And that treatment doesn’t come without a hefty price tag. Intensive rehabilitation programs, such as the one in which Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was admitted, typically cost between $600 and $8,000 daily, and many insurance companies are thrifty with how much of those programs they will cover. Because of the lack of insurance coverage, many brain injury victims in New York do not receive the treatment they need.
A study from the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research found that more than two-thirds of individuals who suffer brain-injuries are discharged to their homes or nursing homes following their hospital stay. The first few months after an injury are the most critical for recovery, and it is during that period when brains have the best chance of relearning basic skills. Without immediate intensive therapy, many patients never fully regain the use of their limbs, their language skills, emotional balance or clear thinking powers.
Currently, there is only state that requires major insurance companies to cover comprehensive brain-injury rehabilitation programs. Even so, treatment is only covered for six months, and the program may get cut with the next set of budget revisions. Read upcoming posts for more information about the division of treatment options available for the wealthy and the average family, and the steps being taken to help ensure victims of traumatic brain injuries receive the long-term treatment they need.
Source: USA Today, “For brain injuries, a treatment gap,” Steve Sternberg, 2 March 2011