NASHIA: Washington Weekly! The National Association of
State Head Injury Administrators reports this week the following public police news from Washington. This update was prepared by Susan L. Vaughn, Director of Public Policy, email@example.com.
NIH-Funded Study Shows Progress in Brain-Computer Interface Technology
A report published on Wednesday in Nature describes how two individuals – both paralyzed by stroke – learned to use the BrainGate system to make reach-and-grasp movements with a
robotic arm, as part of the BrainGate2 clinical trial. The report highlights the potential for long-term use and durability of the BrainGate system, part of which is implanted in the brain to capture the signals underlying intentional movement. It also describes the most complex functions to date that anyone has
been able to perform using a brain-computer interface (BCI). For one person, it was the first time since her stroke that she was able to sip a drink without help from a caregiver.
The trial, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is evaluating the safety and feasibility of an investigational device called the BrainGate neural interface system. This is a type of BCI intended to put robotics and other assistive technology under the brain’s control. NIH has supported basic and applied
research in this area for more than 30 years. In 2009 and 2010, an additional $3.8 million in NIH funding was made possible through the Recovery Act. For more information go to the NIH website.
HHS Awards Grants to States to Implement Insurance Exchanges
This week, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee and Washington will receive more than $181 million in grants to help establish State Affordable Insurance Exchanges. Starting in 2014, Affordable Insurance Exchanges will help consumers and small businesses in every State to choose a private health insurance plan. These comprehensive health plans will ensure consumers have the same kinds of insurance choices as members of Congress. Including this week’s awards, 34 States and the District of Columbia have now received Establishment grants to fund their progress toward building Exchanges. To see a detailed State-by-State breakdown of grant awards and what each State plans to do with its Exchange funding, visit the new map tool on HealthCare.gov.
HHS also issued two guidance documents to help States build Affordable Insurance Exchanges. The guidance includes an cxchange Blueprint States may use to demonstrate how their Affordable Insurance Exchange will work to offer a wide range of competitively priced private health insurance options. The lueprint also sets forth the application process for States seeking to enter into a Partnership Exchange. If a State chooses to operate its own Exchange or a Partnership Exchange, HHS will review and potentially approve or conditionally approve the Exchange no later than Jan. 1, 2013, so it can begin offering coverage on Jan. 1, 2014. Click here to see the State Exchange Blueprint. If a State decides not to operate an Exchange for its residents, HHS will operate a Federally-facilitated Exchange (FFE). This guidance describes how HHS will consult with a variety of stakeholders to implement an FFE, where necessary, how States can partner with HHS to implement selected functions in an FFE, and key policies organized by Exchange function. To see the guidance on the FFEs click here. The Department will conduct implementation forums in the coming months to work with States and stakeholders on their questions and the work to be done in building Exchanges.
The Department will also engage in consultation with Tribes, Tribal Governments, and Tribal Organizations on how Exchanges can serve their populations. For more information on Exchanges, including fact sheets, visit http://www.healthcare.gov/exchanges.
Department of Education Releases Resource Document on Restraint and Seclusion
This week, the US Department of Education (DOE) released a resource document that discourages the method of restraints and seclusion. The document contains fifteen principles that highlight how school-wide behavioral interventions can reduce
or ultimately eliminate the use of restraint and seclusion. The goal of the document is to help ensure that schools are safe and healthy environments for students. Click here to see the press release.
Upcoming Meetings and Webinars
SSA to Hold Webinar on Ticket to Work Program for Young Adults in Transition
On May 23, 2012, the Social Security Administration (SSA) Ticket to Work Program will hold a webinar entitled “Ticket to Work: Free Support Services for Young Adults in Transition.” The webinar will be held from 3-4 pm EST. Click here for more information.
ACYF to Hold Town Hall Meeting May 21st
The Commissioner Bryan Samuels of the US HHS, Administration on Children, Youth and Families will hold an interactive Town Hall on promoting social and emotional well-being and the new child welfare waiver demonstration projects. Participants will have the opportunity to: Learn about the importance of social and emotional well-being for children and families. Learn about priority areas for waiver demonstration projects. Hear about this year’s child welfare funding opportunities. Ask questions about promoting social and motional well-being and the waiver demonstrations. The
meeting is set for May 21, 3:00 – 5:00 pm ET. To register to attend online go to: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/750327082
CYF has released the Information Memorandum (ACYF-CB-IM-12-04) Promoting Social and Emotional Well-being for Children and Youth Receiving Child Welfare Services to provide guidance to child welfare agencies looking to expand their capacity to make
meaningful and measurable changes in social and emotional well-being for children who have experienced maltreatment, trauma, and/or exposure to violence. The document: 1) Articulates the impact of maltreatment on the health and well-being of children; 2) Demonstrates opportunities in the current policy framework and current available resources for attending to well-being; 3)
Suggests strategies for transitioning child welfare systems toward promoting social and emotional well-being; 4) Emphasizes the use of screening, functional assessment and effective interventions; and 5) Provides a listing of Federal resources to aid states, tribes, and territories in this work. The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011 provides the Department of Health and Human Services with authority to approve up to 10 child welfare waiver demonstration projects
per year between FYs 2012 and 2014. Along with renewing this authority, the Act articulates additional criteria for States applying for waivers, including a requirement that projects must accomplish one of the following goals: increasing permanency; increasing positive outcomes and improving safety and
well-being; and preventing child abuse and neglect and re-entry into foster care.
Both information memoranda can be found at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws_policies/policy/im/im00index.htm#2012
New Website Launched on Brainfacts
Earlier this month, a new Web site was launched, BrainFacts.org,
to offer a new way for people of all ages to learn more about how the brain works, how it drives thought and behavior, and its role in brain diseases and disorders. BrainFacts.org, a public information initiative of The Kavli Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), features nearly 1,000 accessible, scientifically reviewed resources about the brain and mind. The Gatsby and Kavli Foundations generously donated a total of $1.53 million over six years to build and sustain BrainFacts.org. BrainFacts.org features content both from its Founding Partners and six initial Content Partners on launch – the Dana Foundation; the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction; the International Brain Research Organization; the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute
of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; and the Wellcome Trust. Additionally, the site features a dedicated discussion about the role of responsible animal research in advancing scientific understanding of diseases and potential treatments, and explains the oversight of such research. This work was funded with a generous grant from the Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund.
The site is guided by an international Editorial Board of leading neuroscientists from four countries. For more information,