TBI Survivors To Get Residential Rehab Services

TBI Survivors

Benjamin KrauseVeterans Affairs just approved a $75 million contract with Centre for Neuro Skills to help TBI survivors with rehab services from the home.

The contract will last until 2017 with an additional two-year option if all goes well. Hopefully prove to be a smart move to help veterans unable to seek care from a traditional VA health care center.

RELATED: VA disability tips for TBI survivors

Many survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI) will see an improvement in their care now that the Centre for Neuro Skills (CNS) has been contracted. The care is designed to remove problems veterans face due to limited access caused by geography.

Those at CNS feel they have a treatment model that can focus on each veteran’s individual needs. Chris Persel, director of rehabilitation at CNS in Bakersfield, says the difference in care between the VA and CNS is dramatic. He said, “In the community based setting they’re able to apply the skills in a way that will hopefully allow them to live more independently.”

He says that comes from having all of their treatment options under one roof. Veterans are able to receive physical and occupational therapy and speech and language pathology in the same building.

Community based care will be a welcomed change for veterans overwhelmed when seeking TBI treatments from a VA facility. VA forces the veteran to adapt to large volumes of scheduling calls and appointments all at once that can overwhelm most veterans, much less those suffering from brain injuries.

What has your experience been getting rehabilitation treatment from VA for a brain injury? Is there anything you would change? What worked best for you?

Source: https://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/deptartment-of-veterans-affairs-awards-75-million-contract-to-centre-for-neuro-skills042615

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  1. Just by coincidence, I have just started the process of being in contact with my local VA hospital for TBI evaluation and possible treatment segments if needed. My TBI, however was the result of a car accident, not war related. I do have a 100% rating anyway for other things.
    Documentation from the civilian hospital I was brought to here where I live about my TBI has already been given to my VA primary care doctor (a whole packet) and I inquired about getting treatment for “residuals” I do have from the initial trauma, which was some months ago.
    I was referred to a neurologist, and was referred to an occupational therapist who is supposed to give me an “Allen cognitive test” which measures “where I am at with my cognitive functioning and the skills training I need according to test results”. From there, I may have to see more therapists in person at future appointments, or they may deem I can do my own therapy exercise without having to actually go there in person. It all depends on what level these test results reveal I am at. I looked into this with the rehab facility of the civilian hospital I was initially at, and they do the same thing – you go see a phyiatrist (rehab MD) and the doctor recommends who you see from there, which is usually a consult with an occupational therapist geting all this test info to the doctor. In many cases, you do not have to go see them over and over because they can recommend activities you do on your own.
    There is no drugs or Rx’s for this stuff, it takes time to heal and heals very slowly.
    That’s my experience so far with the VA. If I do not feel they are going the right way after my testing with the occ. therapist, I will drop the VA like a hot potato and go to the non-VA hospital with my test results from the VA to show them…and take it from there.
    Everybody’s situation is different and involves different levels of complexity depending on how severe your particular case is. I can’t speak one way or the other on “VA care for TBI” as yet. I certainly will bring up CNS to them when I go and ask about that program. I did ask the neurologist about fee-basing me closer to where I live when I met her, but she said I would have to go to take this Allen test at the VA hospital first, and then discuss that option if needed.
    That’s all I know. I will get my treatment somewhere though.

    1. I was wounded in Vietnam in an ambush and had a “Penetrating Head Wound” which put a two square inch hole in my skull and shrapnel in my brain…I was medically retired from the military (like I went 20 or more year’s)…the VARO in Oakland, California denied that I ever had a TBI! WTF!!! They and the NSO’s plus the VSO’s did nothing to correct this FUBAR evaluation from the lame buttock of the VARO…The VA in Martinez, California and Mare Island, California and the entire Northern California VA Medical System is a fail as far as any good it does for the men and women who seek proper medical treatment for their service connected injuries! They waste so much money and here is one response from the “Chief of Primary Care for Northern California VA Medical System,” “It’s the public’s money so why should I care?” The VA is failed and with the low class medical personnel some facilities have (I should say all) we VETERANS are faced with a never ending line of bull! I have 47 year’s experience with these people in Martinez, California and I do believe things were better back in 1968…not really it was FUBAR then too! I have been in the VHIS and have gone every five year’s to Walter Reed, Bethesda and NIH for evaluation and testing on the progress of my head injury…the VA in Martinez, California Neurology Dept. never ever looked at those reports on how I was doing or recommendations for never treatments, etc. What a waste of my time and life dealing with these last in their class doctors and PA’s and other Home Depot employee’s. I use private care and the VA has nothing to say about it. All I can say now is under the VA I was taking 15 various medications and gained 90 lbs. I now take two and have lost 75 lbs. This was my decision so that I just might be able to enjoy and watch my grand children grow up. I just hope they don’t grow up in a worn torn America! FTVA! FBO! and FTVA again!

  2. The VA approach to treating those with TBI has been a disgusting farce since vets with TBI first starting trying to get treatment at the VA for it.
    Around 2009, I met a young veteran and his wife at a military health conference. He had severe TBI, lost part of an arm and part of his foot. They were from the southeast at time, and the VA wanted to warehouse him in a nursing home. At that time he could not speak, had trouble even moving. His wife fought the VA like hell, and I believe obtained some kind of benefit to be his full time caregiver. I don’t recall what kind of physical or speech therapy she provided, the VA provided or what they got on the outside. The end result was that he went from being almost vegetative and unable to speak, to being able to walk, move his arms and speak a few words again. He provided some comments at one of the opening sessions at one of the meetings. This WOULD NOT have happened if the VA had gotten its way and warehoused him. As it was, his wife was on the phone with the VA Central Office constantly during the conference. They were moving to DC, and she was fighting them to provide the same benefit and level of care she had already fought for. From my observance of them and what they had to fight for, the VA is a joke at treating TBI. I read of many others being treated the same way, including many parents taking their Sons back into their home because the VA refused to provide proper care for them. Is this contract an improvement? Only time will tell if it is, or if it’s just another inside deal where a contractor can skin off benefits that should be going to injured vets.

  3. I had to sell my car and four heifers to get my husband to the Poly Trauma Rehab Clinic in the Midwest from Alaska to get him TBI care. The VA in Alaska virtually ignored or requests for help. But, he has received great care here.

    Does this mean they will try and demand vets go here instead of paying out SMC T? My experience is so far that that aid and attendance really must cut into their bonus money. They will jump thru hoops like poodles at the circus to not pay it out.

  4. Perhaps I am missing something here? Does this require any given Veteran to relocate for a period block of time to actually physically go to their Bakersfield CNS facility?
    If it requires already being enrolled in VAMC and being treated FOR TBI by the VA, how does any given Veteran get by the impasse of the VA refusing to diagnose TBI properly in first place?
    If given Veterans DO show marked improvement through CNS, will then the VA use that data to further “low-ball their rating” depending on CNS reporting to VA?

    Not trying to be a ‘Negative Nancy’ here, but the article and short news clip seems to be leaving out just how this is going to work as far as logistics. Are CNS setting-up shop within VAMC’s across the country? Is it all done via internet? If in fact a Veteran must travel to the CNS facility, say in California, is the VA going to pay for said travel?

    Will this be as difficult to be approved for as trying to get the VA to pay for treatment at Cancer Centers of America, when any remotely close VAMC does not treat aggressive cancers?

    The whole “geographical part” has me scratching my head and have had way enough coffee this morning:-)

    Am glad to see the VA addressing TBI but what’s going to be impressed upon the VA to actually *acknowledge a Veteran has TBI*? We have already seen too many times the VA getting huge amounts of $ allocated for programs to only repurpose that any way the VA wants…call me callous or jaded, but this too will be a “wait and see thing” since the VA has it’s fingers on yet more million$.

    Am I asking too many questions?

    1. With the Pentagon admitting it lost almost 2 billion dollars in the afghan war, literally unable to find the money, this was in the paper just last week, one does need to ask, where does the money actually go to & do for our vets. More audits & accountability need to be done. Just before the IRAQ war. well over a trillion was lost. How does the pentagon get away with losing so much money????? LOSING. BILLIONS & TRILLIONS???? AND OUR VETS CAN’T GET their benefits??????.
      Who’s minding the Pentagon / VA store?

    2. Asking too many questions? No. Asking the right questions based on VA history. If a vet does have to travel to this facility, I see it being used very little, or only those vets nearby getting treatment. This reminds me of the Gulf War Referral Centers the VA set up in the late 1990s. They were supposed to be centers where vets with undiagnosed illnesses would be sent to for more extensive medical tests. To date, less than 500 were seen at these centers because the VA required the referring hospital to pay the travel, and most local VAMCs refused to do so. These referral centers did extensive testing…if they were forced to do so. Otherwise it was a quick meeting in your hospital room with some medical student. If testing warranted prescriptions or treatment, the veteran was supposed to get that at the local VA. Problem was, the local VAs did not recognize the test results unless they were duplicated locally, and would not fill prescriptions unless a local doctor examined you and agreed. There is another Gulf War exposure center set up in East Orange, NJ, but I know of no vet that has been referred there, likely because a local VA refused to pay for the travel cost.

      1. MEDICAL CARE IS A BUSINESS. and AFTER working in the medical community n the 60;& 70″ & part of the 80’s, medical care was better Then when HMO’s came in like kaiser, it was then about profit.
        Up until the mid 80’s, We actually got a diagnosis & real treatment, not some mystery disease or a new incurable diseases, with bottles full of mind altering pills or many unneeded testing. NOW WITH THIS, THE ONLY THING WE NOW GET IS A MENTAL ILLNESS prior to the injury or illness or that we were born with a problem. In any case, when the injury or illness is caused by the employer, we’re then labeled nuts, all of it being in our heads, then we’re criminalized for being fakes with our real injuries or illnesses & even law enforcement has gotten our profiles. But even at that, the mentally ill deserve to be treated for medical problems but are not. IT looks like the mentally ill are not able to get sick or hurt. Just can’t win.
        ONCE you are ill or injured, there’s an asterick* or something like that next to your name, or IT IS just the fact YOU filled out a form to get medical care or benefits & HAD to fight to get you owed benefits or complained that you weren’t getting any care or benefit…
        AS civilian’s, we’re not represented. not EVEN when we try & make any sort of complaint & then we’re viewed as less than human even by our own legislators like a mentally ill criminal. but there’s a lot of money to be made to make sure we don’t get care or other benefits
        The care my brother receives is either drug experiments or getting unnecessary testing and that goes for the private sector too, because it’s all about profit, profit, profit.
        That’s the paradigm of today for medical care, for the last 3 decades..
        It’s all so inhumane & evil.
        That being a sick or hurt human makes someone else money and the human is just a criminal nut!

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