Veterans Health Administration Begins Epilepsy Centers

April 24, 2009

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The Veterans Health Administration (VA) is now implementing the new Epilepsy Centers of Excellence. Last year, Congress authorized creation of the centers in legislation offered by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO). The legislation was suggested by the Academy and largely drafted by John Booss, MD, FAAN, a former director of neurology at the VA and a member of the Academy’s Legislative Affairs Committee.

Initially, there will be four multi-site centers that leverage existing VA epilepsy resources, with each coordinating care for a region of the United States. Each Epilepsy Center will incorporate one of the existing Polytrauma Centers and will have one or more sites with the capacity to perform epilepsy surgery and detailed monitoring. Each Center will also have strong academic ties for training and research collaboration.

Eventually, the four multi-site Epilepsy Centers of Excellence will be created with a spoke system reaching out to other facilities linking existing sites of strength with the Polytrauma Network. This would enable the VA to treat the veterans with post traumatic epilepsy while minimizing outsourcing. This four-center network would enable each VA to provide the best level of epilepsy care, support the training and educational needs of the network, and manage a VA epilepsy registry.

The cities selected for each geographic area include:

  • Northwest: Madison, Portland, and Seattle. Polytrauma site: Minneapolis
  • Southwest: San Francisco, West Los Angeles, Albuquerque, and Houston. Polytrauma site: Palo Alto
  • Southeast: Miami, Gainesville, FL, and Durham, NC. Polytrauma site: Tampa
  • Northeast: Baltimore and New Haven, CT. Polytrauma site: Richmond, VA

The Academy would again like to thank Senator Murray and Congressman Perlmutter for sponsoring this legislation and helping pass it through Congress.

For more information, contact Mike Amery, Legislative Counsel, at mamery@aan.com.