Rep. Goode’s legislation requires closer oversight of brain injuries
March 5, 2009
AUGUSTA – The Department of Education would be required to take a harder look at the incidence of childhood brain injuries under legislation proposed by Rep. Adam Goode, D-Bangor.
The bill, LD 866, would require the department to examine discrepancies in data regarding the number of children in the state identified with brain injuries. Goode said that different studies from MaineCare and the Office of Special Services have had huge discrepancies in their data.
“A friend who lives in our community approached me to help get better data about how many of our children suffer from brain injuries,” said Goode. “With better information about the number of children in our communities who suffer from brain injuries we can identify more children who we may not be aware have had an injury.”
The department would also be required to investigate the availability of testing and screening that is available and use that information to develop a plan to institute an annual health screening in schools for brain injury. Recommendations would be reported back to the Legislature by Feb. 15, 2010.
All three of the other Bangor representatives – Sara Stevens, Jim Martin and Steve Butterfield – have signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation.
“Schools can’t provide appropriate services for children if the students haven’t been properly identified,” said Martin. “Children who receive an early diagnosis have a much greater chance of having their needs met by our schools and being successful, contributing members of our community. I hope this bill can shed some light on why there is such a discrepancy between the numbers of children that the Department of Human Services identifies as having a brain injury versus those from the Department of Education.”
On Thursday, the bill was referenced to the Education Committee for consideration. A public hearing will be scheduled in the coming weeks.
Rep. Adam Goode, 991-7000
Lori Eschholz, legislative aide, 287-1430
Kyle Leighton, communications director, 287-1433