Epilepsy Centers Legislation Moves Forward

June 4, 2008

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Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) addressed the AANPA's Neurology-on-the-Hill event in March to thank AANPA members for their efforts on helping create six Epilepsy Centers of Excellence at the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Perlmutter(left) is pictured here with John Booss, MD, FAAN, who has been instrumental in drafting and moving the legislation forward.

The AAN Professional Association (AANPA) is pleased with the Senate's passage of legislation to create Epilepsy Centers of Excellence at the Veterans Administration (VA). The bill, championed by the AANPA (S. 2004), was sponsored by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Larry Craig (R-ID), and was included as part of S. 2162, a larger veterans' health bill that passed unanimously.

John Booss, MD, a former national director of neurology for the VA who testified in Congress in support of the legislation, praised the Senate for acting. "Our service members are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with increasing numbers of traumatic brain injuries," said Booss. "We know from past conflicts that many of these service members will develop epilepsy as a result of their injuries, yet the VA is largely unprepared for an increase in these patients."

The bill would authorize the permanent establishment of six Epilepsy Centers of Excellence. The locations of the centers will be determined by the VA, and the VA director of neurology will supervise the operation and evaluation of the centers. The centers will be responsible for creating a national system of care and research for both new veterans experiencing epilepsy and the 89,000 currently enrolled veterans with epilepsy.

The House version of the bill, HR 2818, by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), has passed the House Veterans' Affairs Health Subcommittee and is awaiting action by the full committee. The American Academy of Neurology Professional Association is working with the VA Committee to move the bill in June and attach it to a similar House veterans' health bill that will have to be passed identically to the Senate bill.

To review the actual bill, search Congress on the Web for S. 2162 in Section 103.

For more information contact:

Mike Amery
Legislative Counsel
mamery@aan.com
(202) 349-4299