Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/03/2009 03:00 PM House HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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SCR 1-BRAIN INJURY AWARENESS MONTH: MARCH 2009                                                                                
3:03:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER announced  that the next order  of business would                                                               
be SENATE  CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 1,  Relating to establishing                                                               
March 2009 as Brain Injury Awareness Month.                                                                                     
3:03:26 PM                                                                                                                    
TREVOR  FULTON, Staff,  to Senator  Lesil  McGuire, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  introduced Dani  Carlson  as the  presenter of  the                                                               
bill for the sponsor.                                                                                                           
3:03:48 PM                                                                                                                    
DANI  CARLSON,  Staff, to  Senator  Lesil  McGuire, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, said that  SCR 1 aimed to recognize  March, 2009, as                                                               
traumatic  brain injury  (TBI) month  in Alaska.   She  cited the                                                               
fragility of our  brains, and stated that TBI is  often called an                                                               
invisible disease.  She estimated  that more than 12,000 Alaskans                                                               
had  suffered  a TBI,  and  that  there  were 800  TBIs  reported                                                               
annually.   She  recounted  that these  statistics had  increased                                                               
with the return  of military combat veterans, 20  percent of whom                                                               
showed  signs  of TBI.    She  reported  that screenings  at  the                                                               
National  Naval Medical  Center  showed that  83  percent of  the                                                               
wounded treated at  that facility had some sort  of brain injury.                                                               
She confirmed  that TBI was  a leading  cause of death  for young                                                               
people in Alaska.                                                                                                               
3:07:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL asked what  public information, other than                                                               
awareness, would happen in association with SCR 1.                                                                              
JILL  HODGES, Executive  Director,  Alaska  Brain Injury  Network                                                               
(ABIN), said,  in response to  Representative Coghill,  that ABIN                                                               
advocated for the  importance of this public health  issue to the                                                               
large health providers.   She said that it was  necessary to work                                                               
with  the  military,  Alaska   Native  Tribal  Health  Consortium                                                               
(ANTHC),  and the  state of  Alaska to  raise awareness  of brain                                                               
3:12:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA noted that  this critical issue had "lagged                                                               
behind" for public recognition.  She  asked about the cost to the                                                               
health  system  for  these  injuries,   and  what  services  were                                                               
available for those soldiers returning with brain injuries.                                                                     
MS. HODGES  replied, in response  to Representative  Cissna, that                                                               
the annual  national cost  was about $60  billion.   She reported                                                               
that  early intervention,  including  screening,  lead to  better                                                               
outcomes.  She encouraged the state for a cost analysis.                                                                        
3:15:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON referred  to the  Governor's Proclamation,                                                               
"Traumatic  Brain   Injury  Awareness  Month"  and   the  sponsor                                                               
statement for SCR 1 [both included  in the members' packets].  He                                                               
pointed out  that one  referred to  brain injury  awareness month                                                               
and the  other referred to  traumatic brain injury month,  and he                                                               
asked about the difference.                                                                                                     
MR. FULTON noted that the  difference was just within the wording                                                               
of the title.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  if there  was a  difference between                                                               
brain injury and traumatic brain injury.                                                                                        
MR. FULTON, in response to  Representative Seaton, explained that                                                               
there  was a  difference, as  all traumatic  brain injuries  were                                                               
brain injuries, but  that not all brain  injuries were traumatic.                                                               
He  pointed  out that  stroke  and  fetal alcohol  syndrome  were                                                               
examples of non-traumatic brain injuries.                                                                                       
3:18:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  referred to  SCR  1,  page 1,  line  14,                                                               
"WHEREAS, most cases of traumatic  brain injury are preventable:"                                                               
and he asked about plans for prevention.                                                                                        
MS.  HODGES, in  response  to Representative  Coghill, said  that                                                               
there were past policy decisions,  for example the seat belt law,                                                               
which had  lowered the injury  rate.   She said that  helmets for                                                               
ATV and snow  machine users, seat belts, and  child booster seats                                                               
were  all programs  that reduced  TBI.   She said  that ABIN  had                                                               
abrogated to ANTHC and the state for injury prevention programs.                                                                
3:20:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  asked what inducements would  make people                                                               
use safety equipment.                                                                                                           
MS. HODGES, in  response to Representative Coghill,  said that it                                                               
started with education in the  school system.  She suggested that                                                               
industries,   specifically  fishing   and  carpentry,   focus  on                                                               
prevention.  She  mentioned that kids needed  a performance based                                                               
model to encourage wearing helmets.   She said that this required                                                               
a culture  change, and  with the variety  of cultures  in Alaska,                                                               
the message would need to be community specific.                                                                                
3:22:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER asked if there were specialists for TBI.                                                                        
3:23:19 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HODGES explained  that there  was very  standard care  for a                                                               
brain injury which  began at the accident site,  and was designed                                                               
to prevent any further damage.   She reported that Alaska had few                                                               
post-acute therapy programs,  so it required out  of state access                                                               
for rehabilitation.   She said  that rehabilitation  improved the                                                               
outcome, and she shared a  personal family story.  She summarized                                                               
that  Alaska needed  a post  acute rehabilitation  center, and  a                                                               
residential recovery center with a supportive environment.                                                                      
3:26:36 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCY MICHAELSON shared the story of  her brain injured son.  She                                                               
explained  that, initially,  her family  went out  of Alaska  for                                                               
treatment at a  rehabilitation center.  She said  that, when they                                                               
returned to  Alaska, it took a  long time to establish  a team of                                                               
care givers.   She  stressed that most  TBIs could  be prevented.                                                               
She  spoke about  protection for  sports related  injuries.   She                                                               
supported a declaration  for March as the  brain injury awareness                                                               
3:29:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  KELLER  asked if  there  was  any more  testimony,  and                                                               
seeing none, he closed public testimony.                                                                                        
3:30:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  reflected that  he had not  heard anything                                                               
about   prevention  proposals,   and  he   suggested  that   this                                                               
resolution  should include  targeting  for all  aspects of  brain                                                               
3:32:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER agreed.                                                                                                         
3:32:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  said that he  fully supported SCR 1,  but he                                                               
asked what would happen after this resolution was passed.                                                                       
3:34:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  noted  that  the ABIN  would  take  this                                                               
proclamation as an additional authority  for education.  He added                                                               
that it  would also  be used  as a  "legislators' voice"  for any                                                               
additional legislation.                                                                                                         
3:36:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  moved to  report SCR  1 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.  There being no objection, SCR 1 was reported from the                                                                   
House Health and Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
doc004.PDF HHSS 3/3/2009 3:00:00 PM