West Virginia State Senator Michael Oliverio, D – Monongalia, is calling upon the hospitals in West Virginia to start reporting traumatic brain injuries (TBI) to the Federal TBI Registry.
According to the State Code Chapter 18, Article 10-A, Section 15, hospitals “shall report to the Center for Excellence in Disabilities by the most expeditious means within seven days after identification of any person sustaining such an injury.”
“The first step to assist our citizens in recovering and rebuilding their lives is to know the extent of the problem and what services are needed,” Senator Oliverio said.
Currently in West Virginia only nine of 68 hospitals report to the registry.
Every year 3,600 West Virginians are hospitalized, 700 West Virginians die, and 600 West Virginians experience a long-term disability due to traumatic brain injury. More than 20% of soldiers who survive combat injuries show signs of traumatic brain injury.
In addition, more than 300,000 undetected and untreated sports related TBIs occur in the US each year. These are a few reasons why reporting traumatic brain injury is an important part of helping West Virginians.
No specific funding has been identified in West Virginia to help veterans, athletes, and others affected by traumatic brain injury return to their previous lives and communities. Funding resources are needed and Senator Oliverio is now asking the public for ideas.
There are 21 states that have set aside a trust fund designed to offer enough support to help people with TBI in order to lead meaningful lives. Now is the time that West Virginia should become the 22nd.
“By working together we can fully identify the problem and develop solutions for citizens suffering from traumatic brain injuries and their families,” Senator Oliverio said.