Giffords' rehab fully covered, but not so for other victims of brain injury
A month after being shot in the head outside a Tucson supermarket, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has settled into a premiere Houston brain rehabilitation center, where experts say she has begun the most arduous — and important — part of her recovery.
Family and staff have cut back on frequent updates of Giffords' progress at TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital, saying they'll report "important news" when it happens. What is clear, however, is that her care at one of the country's top five rehab sites will be paid for through a federal workers compensation program, providing essentially unlimited time and money to help her regain cognitive, physical and social functions.
“We estimate that fewer than 4 percent of patients who need this care actually get it,” said Ashley, who is co-founder and president of the Centre for Neuro Skills, which operates centers in California and Texas. “In the last several years, more policies have been written that exclude rehabilitation altogether.”
Giffords is expected to remain for an unknown period of time, but at least several weeks, at TIRR Memorial Hermann, where doctors say she is receiving a “tailored and comprehensive” rehabilitation plan.
In the hospital, she's getting six hours of therapy a day most days, although the schedule may be slightly lighter on weekends, said Carusone, Giffords' chief of staff. Once released, she's likely to receive unlimited outpatient care, experts estimated.