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Meeting Minutes

Virginia Brain Injury Council

April 28, 2006
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VIRGINIA BRAIN INJURY COUNCIL MEETING

Meeting Minutes
April 28, 2006

Members Present:
Paul Aravich, Ph.D. -Eastern Virginia Medical School
Donna Broshek, Ph.D. -University of Virginia Health Sciences Center
Karen Brown -Brain Injury Services, Inc.
Helen Butler -Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia
Tia Campbell (for Gwen Smith) -Virginia Department of Education
Gary Chiaverotti -Family Member, Norfolk, VA
Dane DeMoss -Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center
Robert Demichelis -Brain Injury Association of America
Sandy Dyche -Survivor, Richmond, VA
Patti Goodall -Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services
Jessica James (for Nadia Webb) -Adult & Pediatric Neuropsychology
Katherine Lawson -Virginia Board for People with Disabilities
Page Melton -Family Member, Richmond VA
Anne McDonnell -Brain Injury Association of America
Carole Norton, Ph.D. -Private Practice
Susan Rudolph -The Arc of Greater Prince William
Julie Triplett -Virginia Office for Protection & Advocacy
Pat Wilkins- Family Member, Harrisonburg, PA
Jason Young -Virginia Alliance of Brain Injury Service Providers

Members Absent:
Paul Blais -Survivor, Hampton, VA
Nancy Bullock -Virginia Department of Health
Treven Pickett, Psy.D. -McGuire Veterans Administration Medical Center
Nathan Zasler, M.D. -Tree of Life Services & Concussion Care Centre

Board Staff:
Kristie Chamberlain -Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services

Meeting Guests:
Kelli D. Williams -VCU-Doctoral Fellow
Lorraine Justice -Brain Injury Association of Virginia
Fran Rooker -Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia
Joann Mancuso -Commonwealth Support Systems
________________________________________
The meeting was called to order at 1:10 p.m.; introductions of the members and guests followed.

Public Comment:
A public comment period was offered, no public comment was made.

Approval of the Minutes:
Anne McDonnell made a motion to approve the meeting minutes of the January 28, 2006 meeting. The motion passed.

NEW BUSINESS:

VA Alliance of Brain Injury Service Providers (Jason Young, Chair)
Jason Young presented on the history of the Virginia Alliance of Brain Injury Service Providers (VABISP). He handed out a document that detailed the history, current status, and future of the Alliance. Initially, the Alliance started as an informal way for providers to discuss needs and ways to obtain services and share resources. A more formalized structure was created and the group adopted the name the Virginia Alliance of Brain Injury Service Providers (VABISP). Recently, the Alliance’s primary focus has been legislative advocacy for services for Virginians with brain injury. In 2004, a major initiative doubled state funding for persons with brain injury. The Alliance is funded through membership fees with a current budget of $800 annually. The Alliance is working with Virginia Office of Protection and Advocacy (VOPA) on paratransit issues for individuals with brain injury and with the Veterans Administration to identify how to better serve military personnel with TBI returning from Iraq.

The VABISP came into existence because the Virginia Brain Injury Council (VBIC), as an advisory body to a state agency, was not able to participate in legislative advocacy activities. At the January 2006 Council meeting, members voted to grant a “standing position” to the Alliance. Paul Aravich, chair, asked that the Council acknowledge and thank Jason Young and VABISP members for their efforts and advocacy on behalf of individuals with brain injury.

VA Board for People with Disabilities (Katherine Lawson)
Katherine Lawson reported that the VA Board for People with Disabilities (VBPD) is in the process of identifying service providers in order to increase partnerships. Their website is www.vaboard.org. Requests for Proposals (RFPs) will be posted on the website in January. It was recommended that VBIC be involved in the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities’ state planning process by providing comments of their biennial assessment report and also of their state plan (which is available on the VA Board’s website). Helen Butler agreed to make comments on behalf of the Council. Dr. Aravich made a formal request to Katherine Lawson to seek out representation of individuals with acquired brain injury on the VA Board for People with Disabilities. The VA Board meetings are open, public meetings and are held quarterly. The Board also has subcommittee meetings which, unless otherwise noted, are open to the public as well. Those sub-committees are education, employment, community integration and transportation.

Veterans Affairs
Dr. Aravich requested that Gary Chiaverotti report back to the Council on veterans’ issues, including the Department of Defense’s Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Centers (DVBIC) at the next meeting. Anne McDonnell and Patti Goodall noted other efforts to increase awareness of veterans’ issues within the Brain Injury Association of America as well as within the federal TBI Act grants nationally. Robert Demichelis queried whether the VBIC should have a representative from the Veterans Administration on the Council. Paul Aravich suggested Jorge Cortina from the Hampton, VA. Patti reminded Council that Treven Pickett, Psy.D. of McGuire Veterans Hospital in Richmond is a member of Council.

Page Melton made a motion to create a subcommittee to focus on veterans’ issues, Helen Butler seconded the motion. Discussion ensued focusing on the Brain Injury Association of Virginia’s current work on the issue and the appropriate role of the Council to take on this subcommittee due to federal grant requirements. The motion passed unanimously. Paul Aravich named Anne McDonnell as chair of the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee and additional members are Paul Blais (nominated, but not present to accept), Gary Chiaverotti, Page Melton, Susan Rudolph, and Karen Brown.

Legislation Update (Anne McDonnell):
Anne McDonnell provided a brief update on the current status of funding for brain injury services. The General Assembly has not made a decision on the FY ’07 budget, so we are in a “holding pattern” for the time being.
Appropriation requests:

1. The Senate made a recommendation that JLARC (Joint Legislative and Review Commission) study brain injury needs and services in VA. Senators and senate analysts felt they needed more information before voting for the proposed Brain Injury Medicaid Waiver, which did not pass this year. JLARC proposed a comprehensive study of incidence and prevalence of ABI/TBI, sequelae, and existing and needed services for people with brain injury. Anne feels that this will bolster the request for funds for the brain injury community. If passed, a report from JLARC will be issued in Fall 2007.

2. The House has introduced a bill for $1.2 million in community-based brain injury services, while the Senate’s version is $585,000 for case management services and $800,000 for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to focus efforts / services toward people with brain injury. All funds would go to DRS as the designated lead agency for brain injury. DRS would likely award funding – pending approval<