Elaine R Flynn, RN, MSN (MossRehab), Karyn Kling, RN (MossRehab), Sharon Murphy Potts, RN (ReMed), Kristine Longo, RN, (Bryn Mawr Rehab) and Robin Sheeran, RN, (President GPC-ARN) went to Washington DC to attend Brain Injury Awareness Day. While in Washington we met with 3 Pennsylvania Congressmen to discuss Brain Injury advocacy and support. Also while in Washington DC, we took the opportunity to meet with three (3) Pennsylvania Congressmen; Senator Pat Toomey, Representatives Meehan and Boyle. We met with Alan Shaw Health policy/Legislative aide Rep Brendan Boyle. Brad Grantz, Staff Director, Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Policy and Julie Nolan, Legislative Aide Rep Patrick Meehan.
The GPC Nurses agenda for the meeting with each legislator was:
1. Support funding to strengthen the federal and state TBI Programs. Specific ask for 9.76 million in State Grants and Protection & Advocacy (President’s FY 2017 budget request is 9.3) and $ 10 million for CDC TBI programs. Support advance and accelerate brain injury research (S. 800/H.R. 1651-Enhance the Stature and Visibility of Rehabilitation Research at NIH Act)
2. Recommend to House Energy & Commerce Committee that rehabilitation nurses be included in the roundtable discussions on concussions
3. Support the requirement to a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home
4. Discuss access to medically-necessary care, including rehabilitation. Reviewed constituents need to get access to most appropriate level of care and promote and improve transitions of care for patients by realizing the value and role that rehabilitation nurses play in healthcare delivery.
The meetings with the Congressional staffers went great. We spent 20-25 minutes with each of the Legislative aides. They were very receptive to our request. Hopefully those brain injury survivors and families we advocate for will reap the benefits of our political activism.
The Brain Injury Awareness Day program was well attended by health care professionals and Brain injury survivors. The day included a brain injury awareness fair followed by a briefing Concussion - It's Just Not a Concussion, and ended with a reception celebrating the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force and Brain Injury Awareness Month. Many brain injury advocates traveled to Washington D.C. to be a part of this important day and to educate Congress on the needs of individuals with brain injury and their families. There was a broad representation of states this year including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Colorado, Missouri, Vermont, New Jersey, Texas, Alabama, Illinois, New Hampshire, Maine, Virginia, and New York.
It was a great day.
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