Imagine surviving a traumatic brain injury and finally being released from the hospital only for new or worsening symptoms to send you right back in. A surprising number of patients face brain injury rehospitalization. But in a recent study, having good auto insurance seemed to help.
Traumatic brain injury can cause very serious neurological problems, and require long stays in the hospital and extensive out-patient treatment. A recent study of brain injury rehospitalization rates in Ontario, Canada, has shown that over a third of TBI patients end up back in the hospital.
The number was much higher than expected. Dr. Angela Colantonio, senior scientist, at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, UHN, studied 30,000 TBI patients released from Ontario hospitals over eight years. Unlike previous studies, estimating brain injury rehospitalization around 25%, Colantonio’s study found that a full 36% of head injury patients had been re-hospitalized within three years of their initial injury. According to lead author, Cristina Saverino, a clinical fellow at Toronto Rehab:
“Re-hospitalizations affects patients’ quality of life and put a strain on the health-care system. . . These findings indicate that we need to consider how to decrease hospital readmissions from TBI patient populations to improve overall efficiency in health care.”
Men, the elderly, and patients with multiple health conditions were all more likely to face brain injury rehospitalization, as were patients that suffered lasting mental health conditions.
Auto accident victims were surprisingly absent from the list. For the victims of motor vehicle collisions, the risk of brain injury rehospitalization was considerably low.
“We know that patients with TBI resulting from motor vehicle collisions are more than 50 per cent more likely to be discharged with support services than those who sustained their injury from other causes, likely due to supplemental auto insurance,” Dr. Colantonio said. “Because these patients appear to use fewer subsequent hospital services, this may suggest that additional care and rehabilitation provided earlier to all people with TBI could reduce the high costs of readmission.”
That is why it is so important to protect Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance laws. Under Michigan law, insurance providers must cover all reasonably necessary treatments resulting from a motor vehicle accident. That includes the support services and rehabilitation Dr. Colantonio describes.
But if Michigan legislators are allowed to place caps on coverage or limit support services like attendant care, the cost to traumatic brain injury victims could be extreme. They could find themselves back in the hospital and facing much higher medical expenses.
Support services and rehabilitation are key parts of the recovery process. They should be paid for right along with hospital stays and surgeries. That is why it is important to keep pressuring lawmakers to say no to Michigan no-fault reform.
David Christensen is a brain injury attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He and his team fight the insurance companies to make sure TBI victims get their medical expenses covered. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious brain injury, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.