News Release, Maryland Department of Health

Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health (MDH), in partnership with the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), March 6, 2019 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 fundsthrough 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,” saidLaurieElinoff, 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,” saidCaitlin 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 throughthe 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 andneuropsychological evaluations for eligible individuals. The Fund will be used to support:

  • Rehabilitation and medical services;
  • Durable medical equipment;
  • Assistive technology assessment and equipment;
  • Transportation services;
  • Neurobehavioral health services;
  • Nursing home transition and community reentry services;
  • Housing and residential services;
  • Prevention, education and awareness programs;

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’sbeen a true privilege to serve with so many passionatemembers on the Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Board and other brain injury advocates,” saidStateSenator Jeff Waldstreicher, who serves as Chairman of the AdvisoryBoard. “Their determination and dedication to this issuehelpedestablishthe trust fund. Together, we will continue our fight to further bolster this important resourceforMarylanders affected by brain injuries.”

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...