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One of the benefits of sitting on the Board of Directors for the Brain Injury Association of Michigan [BIAMI] is that Smith and Johnson will receive weekly updates from the state and national level on issues that affect our traumatically brain injured clients and you our Traverse City InjuryBoard readers.

The Brain Injury Association of America [BIAA] recently reported the following victories on the cognitive rehabilitation front:

1. Anthem Insurance Companies [Anthem BC/BS, Anthem Health Plans] revised it’s cognitive rehabilitation coverage policy in December 2008 and cited BIAA’s position paper among the authoritative sources that were consulted.

2. United Health Care followed suit by publishing a coverage change in its May 2009 Network Bulletin

3. On June 25th, BIAA sent a letter to President Obama urging TRICARE coverage for service members. This is a follow up to the summit hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence in April 2009, which was prompted by Congressional inquiries BIAA initiated last summer.

4. On June 26th, BIAA will release an announcement of these developments on PR Newswire and will circulate technical assistance materials to affiliates to maximize this media opportunity. We understand Wall Street Journal Reporter Tom Burton is working on a follow up article to his Jan. 2008 Page 1 story, also instigated by BIAA.

Also, The New England Journal of Medicine will publish a Letter to the Editor submitted jointly by BIAA, the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the National Neurotrauma Society in response to the article, "Care of War Veterans with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury – Flawed Perspectives," by Charles W. Hoge, M.D., Herb M. Goldberg, B.A. and Carl A. Castro, Ph.D dated April 16, 2009. With so many National Guard members returning home here to Northern Michigan, this is a critical piece which will be published in one of the leading medical journals in the world.

Lastly, I’m proud to announce that my daughter Caroline and I will be hosting 2 veterans on a full-day fly fishing trip here in northern Michigan. This trip was arranged through a recent BIAMI fundraiser in southwestern Michigan. I’ve been a licensed guide for a number of years and Caroline is probably the only high school student in Michigan with her own drift boat. We look forward to providing a great day on the water to two deserving veterans.

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