The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services

Facebook icon Twitter icon YouTube icon Pinterest icon

Meeting Minutes

Virginia Brain Injury Council

Virginia Brain Injury Council October 2016 Minutes FINAL
Return to Minutes Listing


Friday, October 23, 2015

Members Present:
Dawn Adams Dept. for Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
Mark Bender, Ph.D. (Secretary) Neuropsychologist, Tree of Life
Devin Bowers Dept. for Aging and Rehabilitative Services Lisa Bradford, LCSW Salem Veterans Administration
Frankie Brewster Family Member (Charlottesville)
William Carter, III, MD, MPH Virginia Commonwealth University Health System
Lorraine Enright Family Member (Yorktown)
Deborah Johnson Dept. of Education
Mark Murphy Dept. of Juvenile Justice
Cynthia O’Donoghue, Ph.D. (Vice-Chair) James Madison University
(participated by teleconference)
Brian Pearce Survivor (Richmond)
Jodi Power, RN, JD (Chair) Dept. of Health Professions
Tony Schaffer Survivor (Leesburg)
Barbara Seymour Dept. of Medical Assistance Services
Maria Stransky Dep. of Corrections
Krystal Thompson VA Alliance of Brain Injury Service Providers

Members Absent:
Heather Funkhauser Board Dept. of Health / Injury Prevention
Gayl Brunk Valley Associates for Independent Living Patti Goodall Dept. for Aging and Rehabilitative Services
John Heath Family Ombudsman
Brandi Jancaitis Virginia Veteran and Family Services (formerly Virginia Wounded Warrior Program)
Katherine Lawson Virginia Board for People with Disabilities Anne McDonnell Brain Injury Association of Virginia
Lynne Seward Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Commission
Paul Sharpe, R.N. Dept. of Health
Brian Shenal, Ph.D. (Immediate Past Chair) Salem Veterans Administration Medical Center
Julie Triplett Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy

Others in Attendance:
Christine Baggini Brain Injury Association of Virginia
Carol Berg Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Donna Cantrell (Staff Support) Dept. for Aging and Rehabilitative Services
Sheela Nimishikavi Brain Injury Association of Virginia
Laurie Silva NeuroRestorative, Inc.
Ivan Velickovic NeuroRestorative, Inc.
Leigh Wion The Bridge Line


Jodi Power, Chair, called the quarterly meeting of the Virginia Brain Injury Council (VBIC) to order at 1:05 p.m. The meeting was held in Conference Room 103/105 at the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, 8004 Franklin Farms Drive, Henrico, Virginia 23229.

Ms. Power introduced new members including the new state advisory members who provided brief biographic information:

• Dawn Adams - Health Services Director, Department for Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
• Mark Murphy – Director of Health Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, Behavioral Health Services
• Brandi Jancaitis – Executive Director, Virginia Veteran and Family Services [formerly Virginia Wounded Warrior Program (VWWP)]
• Devin Bowers – Dementia Services Coordinator, Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services
• Maria Stransky – Director, Sex Offender Program, Department of Corrections

Approval of October 23, 2015 Meeting Agenda
Lisa Bradford made a motion to approve the agenda for the October 23, 2015 meeting; Brian Pearce seconded the motion. The agenda was approved unanimously.

Approval of the April 24, 2015 Meeting Minutes
Brian Pearce made a motion to approve the April meeting minutes, with a correction (i.e., under the Public Comment Period section, it should read “Mr. Hunter provided...”). Lorraine Enright seconded the motion. The minutes were approved unanimously.

Public Comment Period
Mr. Hunter, whose son is in a residential treatment program in Tennessee, addressed the Council during the public comment period at the April meeting. Tony Schaffer inquired as to whether Mr. Hunter had received formal notification regarding his request to the Council. Donna Cantrell stated that various DARS employees spoke with Mr. Hunter to address his concerns which, unfortunately, did not include providing state funding to support their son’s placement in an out of state residential treatment program. Mr. Schaffer encouraged the Council to provide a formal response to family members or other individuals who present to the Council during the public comment period. Mr. Schaffer thinks it is critical that the Council formally respond in writing to all family members and others who speak during the public comment period. ACTION ITEM: Staff for the Council indicated they would follow up with Mr. Hunter formally via written letter.


Donna Cantrell shared evaluation results / feedback from DARS’ 2015 Brain Injury Report Out Day held in Richmond in July. Comments were also provided informally to Donna at the event, which she also shared. A number of individuals requested more time and opportunity for input and/or involvement from the attendees during that program. Jodi Power noted that Report Out Day went well and expressed appreciation for Senator Creigh Deeds’ presence at the event to accept the Council’s “2015 Brain Injury Champion Award.” Former Commissioner of Department of Veterans Services (DVS), Paul Galanti, received Commissioner Rothrock’s “Toggle Award” to recognize those who have served Virginia’s veterans with acquired brain injury.


Officer Elections
Cynthia O-Donoghue, Ph.D., Chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee, reviewed the nominations for the vacancies of Vice Chair and Secretary. Lisa Bradford, Lorraine Enright, and Mark Bender were nominated for Vice Chair; Mark Bender and Lisa Bradford were nominated for Secretary. Nominees were excused during discussion. Voting was conducted by written ballot. The Council elected Lisa Bradford as Vice Chair and re-elected Mark Bender for a second term as Secretary.

Dr. O’Donoghue reminded members that there are three (3) at-large member vacancies to fill, effective April 2016. Since Dr. O’ Donoghue’s term on Council expires January 2016, she stated that a new Nominations and Elections chair will need to be elected. Current members of the Nominations and Elections Committee are: Cynthia O’Donoghue (Chair), Brian Pearce, Frankie Brewster, Lisa Bradford, William Carter, and Tony Schaffer.

Ms. Cantrell provided the At-Large Member Nomination Form and will also send the form electronically to all members after the meeting. Nominations should be submitted by 12/4/15. Dr. O’Donoghue summarized the process for new Council members as follows:

• Council solicits nominations (via DARS staff support).
• From that pool of nominees, the Nominations and Elections Committee selects candidates to develop a Slate.
• The Slate is submitted to the Council at the January meeting and, if approved, sent to DARS Commissioner for consideration.
• Anyone can nominate individuals for appointment to the Council.
• Only Officers, At-Large, Standing, and Special Designee Members can vote to approve the Slate (excluding advisory or ad hoc member positions).
• DARS Commissioner may appoint new members at his/her discretion.

Federal/State Update
Christine Baggini from the Brain Injury Association of Virginia reported that DARS and BIAV are sponsoring a Caregiver Forum on Saturday, 11/14/15. There are currently 15 caregivers and one professional registered, so she encouraged Council members to get the word out to anyone who might be interested in attending this free event.

Brain Injury Awareness Day, held annually at the Virginia General Assembly, is scheduled this year for 2/10/16. Donna Cantrell, staff to Council, reminded members that they cannot engage in lobbying activities on behalf of the Council, but they are welcome to as private citizens.

BIAV’s annual conference is scheduled for 3/5/16 in Richmond. Information will be shared as the date gets closer.

The Virginia State Trauma Registry outreach continues and 3,618 letters have been sent to newly injured Virginians since May, 2015. Note that due to a variety of interagency issues, DARS was not able to conduct outreach activities for more than a year. Once DARS’ access to VSTR was re-established, the agency conducted a monthly outreach mailing that also included an additional month or two from the backlog. It is anticipated that as of the November, 2015 mailing, the backlog will be eliminated and monthly mailings will be back on schedule. As required in the Code of Virginia, hospitals must report to the Virginia Statewide Trauma Registry all hospital / trauma center admissions of individuals diagnosed with brain injury. DARS then accesses this information in VSTR to send to the Brain Injury Association of Virginia (BIAV), which completes the outreach mailings via subcontract with DARS. The information in the outreach mailing informs the recipient that, if they wish, they can contact BIAV for more information and resources.

Members of the Council asked questions about the Registry (e.g., are individuals who experience repeat injuries followed and can “tweaks” be made to the Registry or its methodology for capturing incidents to obtain a more accurate accounting of brain injuries). Ms. Power reminded members that the Trauma Registry only includes individuals admitted to a hospital / trauma center. Other members identified various challenges to capturing accurate numbers such as the lack of a mechanism for capturing data on individuals seen for brain injury-related issues in physician offices, walk-in clinics, or other non-hospital settings; challenges in diagnosing mild brain injuries; and general systems issues for capturing data.

Mr. Schaffer suggested that the Council convene a subcommittee to look at the numbers and investigate ways to get more accurate information. Several Council members provided input on this issue, noting that even in the CDC report to Congress, numbers are estimated using complex population data matrices to extrapolate numbers. Brian Pearce noted that this is not a unique problem to brain injury; medical numbers are always guestimates at best. Krystal Thompson noted that as a community provider, she’s satisfied with the estimate that “2% of the population is living with brain injury” and she would rather Council focus efforts on service development / enhancement.

Ms. Power asked whether any formal action was being requested. Mr. Schaffer requested that DARS staff formally follow up with the Commissioner for guidance on this issue and report back to Council at the January meeting.

ACTION ITEM: Patti Goodall will contact Commissioner Rothrock for guidance on addressing the lack of access to accurate data on the number of people in Virginia who sustain a brain injury in and how to proceed, as it ultimately impacts resource allocation and services.

Krystal Thompson, Chair of the Virginia Alliance of Brain Injury Service Providers (VABISP), reported that the group met just prior to today's Council meeting. There were two presentations at the VABISP meeting:

1) Jackie Robinson, the Project Director with Virginia Partnership for People with Disabilities (VPPD) presented on the I-CANN Accessibility grant. The purpose of this grant has been to make Family Abuse Protective Orders easier for individuals with disabilities to obtain. VPPD recently was awarded another two years of funding from this grant from the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice and one area of focus over the next two years is providing training on abuse, specifically to brain injury professionals, resources on abuse, and how to help our clients/population access protective orders.
2) Frank Hayes, Program Director of Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia (BISSWVA) presented on a tele-rehabilitation program in Southwest Virginia: the CLiC Program).

Krystal also indicated that VABISP continues to educate itself on Medicaid Waivers and the potential for increased access to care via Waiver funding. In regard to a potential TBI Medicaid Waiver, VABISP would like the population to be served under a future Waiver to be Virginians with ABI (acquired brain injury) and not limited to TBI (traumatic brain injury).

It is also reported that for 2016, $1.5 million for brain injury services in the Commonwealth will be requested by the brain injury advocacy community ($700,000 for case management, $250,000 for clubhouse/day programs to clear waitlists based on case load, and $550,000 for long-term services and supports such as telehealth (e.g., CLiC) and specialized services through assistive living facilities (e.g., supported living and peer support).

Student Athlete Concussion Roundtable Meeting
Deborah Johnson and Jodi Power reported that in 2010 the Virginia General Assembly mandated that policies be developed to address return to play following a concussion of a student athlete. In 2014 the Virginia General Assembly passed a bill to add return to learn language in the guidelines, in addition to the return to play guidelines. Bills were introduced to both the Virginia House and Senate related to concussions and athletes, but they did not pass. The General Assembly then commissioned a study on the topic to be handled by the Virginia Commission on Youth (COY).

On 9/22/15, Deborah Johnson and Jodi Power participated in the Roundtable Student-Athlete Concussion meeting hosted by the Virginia Commission on Youth and Department of Education, that developed a long list of recommendations that will be presented to the COY, who will then vote on which recommendations to be forwarded to the General Assembly. Some of the discussion leading to the recommendations emphasized return to learn guidelines for all students who sustain concussions, regardless of whether they were sustained in athletics. Other recommendations addressed whether additional legislation is needed to improve safety and well-being of student athletes.

Other Items
Tony Schaffer announced that at Inova Hospital on 10/30/15 there will be a brain injury conference in Northern Virginia entitled, "Journey Conference.” DARS and BIAV are aware and will be staffing exhibit tables with information and resources for survivors and caregivers.

Mr. Schaffer also inquired about Virginia Veterans and Family Support, explaining his role as an advocate for brain injury survivors and his desire to learn about the various resources available to this group.

ACTION ITEM: Ms. Cantrell will provide his contact information to Brandi Jancaitis, Executive Director of the VVFS program at the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.

2016 Meeting Dates
Donna Cantrell announced the schedule for 2016 meetings of the Virginia Brain Injury Council. They will occur from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on:

• January 22, 2016 (DARS, Central Office)
• April 22, 2016 (DARS, Central Office)
• July 15, 2016 (DARS, Central Office)
• October 21, 2016 (scheduled at Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville)


Jodi Power requested that a motion be made to adjourn the meeting. Brian Pearce made a motion to adjourn the meeting; Krystal Thompson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:15 p.m.