February 28, 2018
HHS Works to Prevent Brain Injuries, Helps Texans Get Treatment

Brain injuries are a significant public health problem in Texas. They can occur in a matter of seconds but can have lasting effects on a person’s life as well as their family. HHS has three programs that work together to prevent brain injuries and help Texans who have them.

The Office of Disability Prevention for Children, the Office of Acquired Brain Injury and Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services educate Texans through public information campaigns and help people find the services they need.

The Office of Disability Prevention for Children works to prevent developmental disabilities before they happen.

“Preventable disabilities, such as brain injury or fetal alcohol syndrome, can happen before and after someone is born,” said Gabi Teal, project manager for ODPC. “We work with other HHS programs and the public to make sure they have the information they need about the causes, frequency and preventability of developmental disabilities.”

A brain injury can require months or years of rehabilitation. The Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services program can help Texans pay for rehabilitation for traumatic brain or traumatic spinal cord injuries. Services can include inpatient comprehensive rehabilitation services, outpatient rehabilitation services and post-acute brain injury services. The program aims to ensure that consumers receive services to improve their ability to function independently in the home and community.   

 Primary Prevention (preventing the disability from occurring), Secondary Prevention (detecting disability early and intervening to slow or stop its progression), Tertiary Prevention (interventions that stop or slow the progression of a disability to mitigate its negative consequences). Our goal is to stop disability before it happens and minimize the negative consequences if we cannot.

“The program serves as the payer of last resort for people who don’t have health insurance, people who have Medicaid and people who have private insurance,” said Christine Medeiros, program manager for CRS. “Once CRS consumers complete their services, our staff helps them move back into their community and connects them with further resources such as the Centers for Independent Living that can help them gain independence.”

For those not eligible for CRS services, the Office of Acquired Brain Injury will work with them to find services in their community.

“More people are diagnosed with brain injuries than with Alzheimer's, breast cancer, HIV and AIDS, prostate cancer, lung cancer and ALS combined,” said Crystal Starkey, program manager for the Office of Acquired Brain Injury. “Our office serves as an educational hub for people living with brain injuries, connecting them with the appropriate resources in their community, raising awareness and increasing education about brain injury.”

HHS will showcase the efforts of all three programs in March during Brian Injury Awareness Month with a campaign to increase awareness, provide training and emphasize the partnerships HHS has with external groups. 

Brain Injury Awareness Event March 6

HHS will host a Brain Injury Awareness Month Celebration 1–4:30 p.m. March 6. The celebration will include a resource fair, an art exhibit and stories from brain injury survivors and professionals. The event is free. For more details or to RSVP as a guest or exhibitor, please click here.

Free Training Available

Free training to help people who serve and support those with brain injuries will take place 1:30–3:30 p.m. March 23. For details or to register, please click here.

For questions about any of the March activities, contact Gabi Teal at gabi.teal@hhsc.state.tx.us.