Tag Archive for: Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer

Our Law to Fund Recovery Programs Signed by Gov. Pence!

Today Senate Act 166, an Indiana state law to help fund long-term physical therapy programs was signed into law by Governor Pence.   It's a special day for NeuroHope, and for all the clients we will serve, because it was written specifically with our mission in mind.

For the last seven months we've worked closely with key state legislators (Sen. Patricia Miller, Sen. Luke Kenley, Rep. David Frizzell, Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer and others) to raise awareness to the glaring void in care for people recovering from traumatic injury.  There are too many families thrown into the world of spinal cord or brain injury who soon realize that the time available for their recovery is severely limited.  Many will be discharged from inpatient rehabilitation after a matter of weeks, with only a small number of outpatiet visits available for the rest of their recovery.

miller chairWe first approached Senator Miller, chair of the Senate Health Committee, last fall to share my story and the vision we had for NeuroHope.  Back in 2007, Senator Miller helped create the Indiana Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Fund.  This is a wonderful fund that proves Indiana is already at the forefront of a changing paradigm of neurologic research and rehabilitation.  Every year, the fund receives about 1.5 million dollars from statewide motor vehicle registrations.  Every two years, the legislature decides the allowance.  Previously, this money was only permitted to be used for research purposes.  Last year for example, 9 researchers received grants for various projects around the state.  One in particular is a very worthwhile study at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana researching diabetes and neurologic injury.  This is great work that will continue, but Senator Miller felt that more could be done with the fund.  She quickly became our leading advocate and introduced the bill that we've helped shepherd through the entire legislative process.   She proposed that a portion of the fund, in addition to it's use for research,  be used for the long-term treatment of neurologic injury.  Specifically, for a clinic that offers extended services at affordable rates after insurance expires – the crux of our mission at NeuroHope.

In January and in March I gave detailed presentations to the Health Committees of both the Indiana House of Representatives and the Senate.  You can read my testimony here.   I explained the compexities of neurologic injury, and how care is limited to the amount dictacted by insurance companies.  I also discussed how an independent organization like NeuroHope, that is willing to provide services outside the boundaries of traditional facilities, will help fill the void in care in Indiana.

Our mesage was clear and our message was heard!  The bill passed each bipartisan committee unopposed. It passed the Senate 47-0.  It passed the House of Representatives 95-0.  Throughout its journey the bill never received a single vote of opposition, and was signed into law by the Governor in April.

What it Means

  • A portion of the money in the Indiana Spinal Cord Injury and Brain Injury Fund must now be granted to a facility that offers: "post-acute extended physical therapy services for individuals with spinal cord and brain injuries at affordable rates".
  • An annual amount of 10{d57c75664ee40cd9f9f9d2c854d19b920dafc77e6732c691aa0b0118029496b3}-15{d57c75664ee40cd9f9f9d2c854d19b920dafc77e6732c691aa0b0118029496b3} of the fund (approximately $150,000 – $225,000) must now be used for this purpose.
  • The 11 member Indiana Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Board approves funding.
  • This opportunity WILL NOT fully fund NeuroHope!  It is simply a fund which we are eligible to apply to for assistance each year.

Our model of service revolves around providing supplemental care for the patients that need it.  That means longer therapy visitis, and more therapy visits.  In order to do this, NeuroHope needs income outside of insurance reimbursement to offset the true cost of therapy. 

As a non-profit, much of our success will always rely on fundraising.  Searching for grants, organizing charitable events, and seeking out individual donors (however large or small), will always play an integral part of our sustainability.  The new law now provides another potential revenue stream. 

It's not often that a grassroots organization like ours is able to help pass a law in a single legislative session.  This would not have been possible without DPT Nora Foster leading our services.  Nora has turned the idea of NeuroHope into reality.   Because of her exceptional standard of care, we have opened our doors to the spinal cord injured community, and have added Donna Peterson (PTA) to our team.  We already have a waitlist for their services.

This law will not fully fund NeuroHope!  Even if we are successful in securing money from the fund, it will not be available until next year. 

Nevertheless this is an important milestone for the healthcare system and for disabled individuals in Indiana and we are honored to be a part of it.