Congress Authorizes VA Epilepsy Centers of Excellence

Doctor with Hand on Patient

Last week, the House passed an omnibus veterans health care package (S. 2612), including key provisions of The Epilepsy Centers of Excellence Act (H.R. 2818/S. 2004), which BIAA has strongly endorsed. Over the weekend, the Senate also passed this legislation and it is expected to be signed into law by the President imminently.

The legislation, championed by the American Academy of Neurology and endorsed by BIAA, anticipates an expected increase in the number of TBI-related epilepsy cases among veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill will create up to six Epilepsy Centers of Excellence (ECoE) at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), and is aimed at restoring the VA as a national leader in epilepsy care and research.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) in the House of Representatives and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) in the Senate.

Congress Clears FY 2009 Defense Authorization Bill For President's Signature

Within the past few days, Congress also passed the FY 2009 defense authorization bill (S. 3001). This legislation contains a "Sense of Congress on TBI Research." Specifically, the bill states in Sec. 725:

"It is the sense of Congress that the requirement under section 1621(c)(7) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (Public Law 110-181; 122 Stat. 453; 10 U.S.C. 1071note) to conduct basic science and translational research on traumatic brain injury includes pilot programs designed to test the efficacy of clinical approaches, including the use of pharmacological agents. Congress urges continued studies of the efficacy of pharmacological agents for treatment of traumatic brain injury and supports continued joint research with the National Institutes of Health in this area."