INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana is about to take a huge step forward in assisting thousands of Hoosiers who have suffered from spinal cord and brain injuries, according to State Rep. Carolene Mays (D-Indianapolis).
The biennial state budget approved by the Indiana General Assembly earlier this year (House Enrolled Act 1001) provides a mechanism for the state to begin funding spinal cord and brain injury research projects that can lead to cures and improvements for those who have suffered from these traumatic injuries.
The program, which becomes state law on July 1, was one of Mays’ priorities this year. The lawmaker first filed legislation to create the mechanism for the research (House Bill 1813), then worked with negotiators in both the House and Senate to place the program in the budget.
“Earlier this year, I was approached by a group of concerned citizens who wanted to make a difference for those individuals who have suffered a traumatic spinal cord or brain injury,” Mays said. “They want research to be performed here in Indiana to help some 160,000 residents who have received such injuries. As an added benefit, these projects create new research jobs right here in Indiana.”
The legislation creates a nine-member spinal cord and brain injury research board under the Indiana Department of Health that will receive, review and approve applications for research projects related to treatments and cures, including acute management, medical complications, Rehabilitation and recovery.
The board will include a person or family member of a person who has a spinal cord or head injury, a physician specializing in neurosurgery, a psychiatrist and representatives from Indiana and Purdue Universities, the National Spinal Cord Injury Association and the American Brain Injury Association.
“Funding for this research will come primarily from an increase in the motorcycle registration fee,” Mays said. “That fee will rise from $17 to $27, with the revenue generated by the $10 increase going directly to a spinal cord and brain injury fund to finance projects and help create a state medical surveillance registry for traumatic spinal cord and brain injuries. It is estimated this change will raise about $2.5 million each year.
“I chose to pursue this funding method because there is a proven link between motorcycle accidents and traumatic spinal cord and head injuries,” she continued.
Mays said the new program will provide numerous benefits, both in assisting people in need of medical advances and providing a positive economic impact for the state of Indiana.
“Research leads to reduced medical complications and hospitalizations, which helps cut health care costs,” Mays said. “States that have implemented similar programs have seen a 200 percent return on their investments in the form of new jobs and tax revenues and grants. This program also will enable Indiana to pursue its share of $50 million in federal research funding on spinal cord and head injuries.
“Best of all, Indiana will be moving to the forefront in the effort to improve the lives of those who have suffered from spinal cord and head injuries,” Mays concluded.
Source: Indiana House Democratic Caucus