by Linda W. Arms
Let me start by saying this is about brain injury, not politics. My TBI occurred in early 2006 when you didn’t find much in the news about brain injury. My husband and I looked for answers to my brain injury problems from medical providers and from the Internet. During the first couple years I was appalled by what I was reading regarding our military coming back from our wars with brain injuries and just not getting the attention and care they needed. Obviously many people just didn’t “get it” when it came to brain injuries, including our government. One person stood out at that time and I thought “yeah!!!” somebody is doing something to try to help. That person was Hillary Clinton, who recently suffered a brain concussion and complications as a result. So I would like to say that we should put politics aside and kindly remember that Ms. Clinton did try to help those with TBI.
To know more, here is an excerpt from Votesmart.org that speaks to the action that Ms. Clinton took back in 2009:
“The Fiscal 2009 budget released February 5 eliminates the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Program, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration; provides only modest reductions in claims processing wait times, from 177 days to 145 to process disability claims for separating service members or veterans; and fails to guarantee funding of the VA, leaving professionals at the Department unsure of next year’s budget….
Hillary Clinton joined Senator Barbara Mikulski in writing to President Bush, calling on him to reverse his plan to eliminate the Traumatic Brain Injury Program, which has a been a crucial component of the federal government’s system of care for the million of Americans dealing with TBI, including many veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The program that was eliminated by President Bush’s budget provides grants to states to help them develop systems of care for those impacted by such injuries; these grants are essential components of our national system of care for all Americans impacted by TBI.”
Furthermore, Ms. Clinton “included a provision in the recently enacted Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act to mandate that the Department of Defense implement a screening protocol for Traumatic Brain Injury within 180 days. The nearly 1,000 young West Virginia citizens that join the armed forces each year, along with members of the National Guard and Airmen from the state, now receive regular health screenings to detect Traumatic Brain Injury, thanks to legislation Hillary introduced. In addition, in 2006, Senator Clinton authored provisions in the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 that increased research into ways to improve TBI care for veterans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
No, this did not fix it all but at least someone was paying attention to the needs of the TBI community. So much more needs to be done to increase awareness and treatment. So I say thank you to Ms. Clinton for her efforts and I truly hope she has no long lasting effects from her concussion. I say this as a person with TBI to another person who has been affected by brain injury. It is not about politics.