Brain Injury Rehab Coverage

By Drew Joseph:

–Scott Powell went from a guitar-playing, car-restoring general contractor to a partially paralyzed man unable to walk or talk after an aneurysm last June.

“He’s just this manly man, and his life was halted,” Hollie Powell of San Mateo said of her 45-year-old husband.

 Now, Powell said, she has hit a wall in trying to get their insurance to cover her husband’s rehabilitative therapy – a problem that supporters of a bill in the state Legislature argue leads to vital time lost in a person’s recovery.

The bill, the Brain Injury Access to Treatment Act, would require insurers to cover rehabilitation for people with brain injuries at certain treatment centers. As it stands now, those supporters say, insurance companies can cut people off after medical treatments and minimal recovery therapy, leaving them on their own to try to pay for expensive and often long periods of rehabilitation.

Hollie Powell said that in the months since Scott’s aneurysm, she has been in a “constant battle” over insurance as her husband has moved among five hospitals and four nursing facilities. Scott is now at Burlingame Long Term Care, part of San Mateo Medical Center, and Hollie is applying to get him covered through the state’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal.–

I photographed Scott and Holly at the Burlingame Long Term Care Center while she was there during her daily visit, working on physical therapy with him, something that she is in charge of because their insurance is not covering it at the moment.

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