According to an article in the Virginian Pilot, an estimated 250,000 adults in Virginia alone have brain injuries. In many cases, personal income is rapidly exhausted to care for the brain injury victim, and families are forced to turn to Medicaid in order to try and continue caring for their loved one. However, most facilities in Virginia are privately owned and Medicaid won’t cover the costs because they are not nursing homes.
This has become a growing issue, particularly for those with behavioral problems related to the head injury, because they must sometimes bounce from facility to facility.
Some people may qualify for a “Medicaid waiver” which would allow for more flexibility when it comes to home or community based care, but this does not include adults with brain injuries. It does however include: people with mental disabilities, the elderly and disabled, the developmentally disabled, and children with brain injuries.
Brain injury advocates would like to see such a waiver for brain injured adults, but are not very optimistic of this happening when there are already more than 6,000 people on waiting lists for waivers that are already available. The state just doesn’t have enough money for the program.
“The four most popular places for a brain-injury survivor are jail, home with a parent, a state psychiatric center, a nursing home,” says Dr. Robert Voogt the owner of the Neurological Rehabilitation Living Center in Virginia Beach. “Those are all inappropriate placements, except for at home. But when parents get to be 70 or 80, they can’t care for them. The brain-injured person who is not violent, who is passive, sits in his chair and doesn’t cause trouble, a nursing home will have them for 50 years. Plenty of nursing homes will take those guys.”