Press Release
For Immediate Release 
February 7, 2019

Contact: 
Andrew Justvig Communications Director
435-313-5819 | andrew.justvig@gmail.com

 

Utah Pediatric Neuro-Rehabilitation Fund

Salt Lake City, UT (2/7/19) On Monday February 11, 2019, Rep. Eric Hutchings will announce legislation to create the Utah Pediatric Neuro-Rehabilitation Fund and advisory committee. The purpose of this bill is to provide funding for children with non-progressive neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida, and who have experienced an acute change in their functional status, and will benefit from continued physical and occupational therapy.

If it passes, the bill will be the first of its kind in the United States. Rep. Hutchings has been working for months with a group of community pediatric therapists and physicians determining where the need is greatest and how to have the most immediate impact on children with these conditions. The committee identified a sub-group of children who will experience a decline in functional ability either because of co-existing conditions or in conjunction with surgical procedures designed to eliminate complicating factors. Despite this, these children show increased neurological recovery and improved functional capability when intense, focused, and expertly applied rehabilitative therapy is provided.

This type of therapy requires frequent, repeated sessions applied over an extended period.  Unfortunately, most outpatient therapy insurance coverage is limited to twenty sessions per year, which is insufficient for this specific need. Private pay options are typically outside the realm possibility of most families. The problem this bill addresses is a group of children who have the potential to improve but cannot access the necessary expertise and interventions due to inadequate resources.

Children given this rehabilitative opportunity will have greater mobility, increased personal independence, less need for durable medical equipment and medical care, and have an improved ability to participate in school, community, and family activities. This translates into a more capable individual with a greater potential for employment and, consequently, is less dependent on state assistance. This in turn, may relieve parents of caregiver responsibilities that kept them out of the workforce.

“We are hopeful this bill will be ground breaking not only in Utah but serve as a framework for other states to follow”, said Rep. Hutchings. The bill has the support of the Utah Physical Therapy Association.

Rep. Hutchings will be joined at the press conference by children with neurologic conditions and their families, community therapists, and committee members. The conference is scheduled for 1pm at the state capitol.

About Rep. Hutchings: https://house.utah.gov/rep/hutchek/

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