March 6, 2019
Brittany Fowler, Deputy Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-1368
Deidre McCabe, Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-3536
Maryland Health Department announces funding source for Brain Injury Trust Fund during Brain Injury Awareness Day activities
Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health (MDH), in partnership with the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), today announced a dedicated funding source through MDOT for the Maryland Brain Injury Trust Fund, which was established to assist individuals living with brain injury.
“This fund was created six years ago, but until now, didn’t have a dedicated funding source,” said Maryland Department of Health Secretary Robert R. Neall. “I applaud Delegate Bob Flanagan, the MDOT administration and the many brain injury advocates who worked for years to make this happen. This new funding mechanism – entirely voluntary – will allow residents to contribute to this worthwhile endeavor and support their fellow Marylanders.”
Dr. Barbara Bazron, Deputy Secretary of MDH’s Behavioral Health Administration, said at the announcement: “There are many people in our state living with brain injury who need additional supports. This fund will help pay for services to income eligible residents, which will positively impact their lives.” The BHA will manage the distribution of funds through its Office of Older Adults and Long Term Services and Supports.
The announcement, held in conjunction with Brain Injury Awareness Day in Annapolis, was attended by dozens of Maryland residents living with brain injury, who applauded the state’s efforts to expand available services.
“I’m overwhelmed with joy because our dream is coming true. As a traumatic brain injury survivor, I am thrilled that this trust fund will provide critical services – services that will contribute to an improved quality of life for my brain injured brothers and sisters, who could not afford these services otherwise,” said Laurie Elinoff, a member of the Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Board.
"This trust fund is about providing real hope to families that have been taken to the breaking point and beyond. By allowing Marylanders to donate to the trust fund, we can begin to provide services and support to individuals and families struggling to restore their lives and their future,” said Caitlin Exline Starr, Associate Director of the Brain Injury Association of Maryland (BIAMD), a non-profit organization representing individuals with brain injury, their families and professionals.
Bazron, Starr and Elinoff were joined by former Delegate Bob Flanagan, who worked with MDOT to establish the funding source as a voluntary contribution through the Motor Vehicle Administration’s registration renewal process, when completed online or at a kiosk.
“There is so much that is needed to raise awareness, shape public policy and assist individuals with brain injuries,” said Flanagan. “I deeply appreciate Governor Larry Hogan's administration for finding a way to fund this so the work can move forward.”
The Brain Injury Trust Fund, created by legislation in 2013, will pay for case management and neuropsychological evaluations for eligible individuals. The Fund will be used to support:
Data from MDH’s Center for Injury Epidemiology shows that every year in Maryland there are tens of thousands of emergency room visits, thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths due to traumatic brain injury from motor vehicle crashes, sports injuries, falls and assaults. And these numbers do not include brain injuries caused by other factors, such as near drowning, suffocation, strokes, opioid-related overdoses and other unintentional poisonings.
“It's been a true privilege to serve with so many passionate members on the Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Board and other brain injury advocates,” said State Senator Jeff Waldstreicher, who serves as Chairman of the Advisory Board. “Their determination and dedication to this issue helped establish the trust fund. Together, we will continue our fight to further bolster this important resource for Marylanders affected by brain injuries.”
The Maryland Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community engagement. Stay connected at http://www.twitter.com/MDHealthDept and http://www.facebook.com/MarylandDHMH.
Marylanders in need of treatment for substance use disorders can locate treatment facilities at http://goo.gl/nIfGm0. Individuals can call 211 and press 1, or text their zip code to 898-211, to speak with crisis call specialists. For information related to fighting addiction in Maryland, visit http://goo.gl/KvEzQw.
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