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Nicoletti Walker Law Group June 22, 2016

A recent study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation has brought to light some disturbing trends concerning brain injuries and language barriers; namely, that Spanish-speaking children face some serious hurdles when it comes to receiving health services for their traumatic brain injuries. Specifically, the study found that less than 20 percent of rehabilitation providers in one state (Washington) accepted Medicaid and provided language interpretation for children seeking treatment for traumatic brain injuries; in fact, only 8 percent were found to provide both services to those children.

The study also revealed that Spanish-speaking families actually have to travel significantly farther to access health services, overall highlighting just how significant the barriers to access to health services are for children who are already disadvantaged. These same children now also find it harder to gain access to services that make the difference in terms of long-term outcomes. In many ways, the study’s outcomes highlight just how not having access to rehabilitation keeps these children behind for the rest of their lives.

Study Factors & Findings

The study looked at access to language, speech, and cognitive therapy, as well as physical and occupational assistance and mental health services, and whether Medicaid and interpretation services were offered to non-English speaking families. The findings were startling, showing that:

  • Only 46 percent accept children with Medicaid;

  • Those children covered by Medicaid had fewer rehabilitation service options than those with private insurance;

  • There were even fewer services available to children and families who needed language interpretation services;

  • Only 8 percent of mental health services, specifically, accepted children with Medicaid who needed language services;

  • Less than half of the physical and occupational services accepted children with Medicaid and provided language services; and

  • Overall, less than 20 percent of all providers accepted children with Medicaid and provided language services.

Travel Time Complications

Regardless of insurance status, the study also found that Spanish-speaking parents had to drive close to 20 minutes longer than English-speaking families in order to reach a mental health provider and close to 10 minutes longer to obtain physical, speech, occupational, and/or cognitive therapy.

Dedicated Representation for Victims of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Brain injury attorney Mike Walker understands the impact that head injuries can have on victims and their families. After losing, almost everything, victims and their families then must deal with insurance and healthcare companies—as well as the medical providers that are supposed to be nursing them back to health—and being denied services can be beyond overwhelming.

If you or a loved one has experienced a head or brain injury, seeking help from Florida personal injury lawyer Mike Walker can make things a little easier. Contact Mike Walker today for a free consultation in Clearwater.