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Joanne Susi

"It's the difference between surviving and thriving...and I'm thriving here."Joanne Susi was BIA-MA's keynote speaker at the 35th Annual Brain Injury Conference. On March 16, 2011, Joanne Susi's life was transformed. After three long years in a nursing home, she moved into the community as a result of the ABI Waiver Program. Read Joanne's story

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BIAMA advocacyThe Brain Injury Assocation of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) advocates for the support and prevention of the brain injury community. BIA-MA advocates for the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) to increase budgets (for brain injury supports and services), safety laws (concussions, seat belts, helmets, distracted driving, hands free cell phone), and legislation affecting commercial insurance coverage (Cog-Rehab Bill). Our legislative efforts are enhanced by the hard work of individuals across the state.

The BIA-MA has two major advocacy efforts, click on the subject to see more informaiton:

  1. MRC SHIP Budget Ask (funded by MA Budget line item 4120-6000)
  2. Cognitive-Rehabilitation Bill

Advocacy Events

Event When Description  
2nd Annual Advocacy Day at the State House Feb 1, 2017 Legislators, brain injury survivors, volunteers, and BIA-MA employees will gather at the State House to emphasize the importance of continued legislation to bring services and supports to individuals with brain injury. Information will be added here as it becomes available. Sign-up will begin in December 2016
189th Session of Legislature July 6, Financial Services Committee reported the Cognitive Rehabilitation bill "to study". The bill will be refiled in January of 2017.

  Feb 2016 Cognitive Rehabilitation Bill referred to Center for Health Information Analysis  
  Nov 2015 Hearing before the Joint Committee on Financial Services - Cognitive Rehabilitation Bill
  Jan 2015 Senator Harriette Chandler and Representative Kimberly Ferguson filed an Act relative to Cognitive Rehabilitation

1st Annual Advocacy Day at the State House - February 3, 2016

What a success! On February 3, 2016, BIA-MA held an Advocacy Day at the Massachusetts State House. Over 200 legislators, brain injury survivors, volunteers, and BIA-MA employees attended this event, held at Grand Staircase on the second floor. This event was held to emphasize the importance of continued legislation to bring services and supports to individuals with brain injury. Read more


Mass Health Policy Forum - December 10, 2015

A Massachusetts Health Policy Forum on “Severe Brain Injury in Massachusetts: Assessing the Continuum of Care”, sponsored by the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts and Supportive Living, Inc., was held at the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston on December 10th, 2015.  This forum examined the treatment and service disparities for survivors of severe brain injury in light of coverage expansions and health care system and financing changes under state and national reform. 

Acquired brain injury is a major public health problem in Massachusetts, yet many patients with brain injury are not receiving services after initial treatment that are known to be effective, such as post-acute rehabilitation, case management and brain injury specific community programming. While good emergency care saves lives after a severe brain injury, access to rehabilitation in the chronic phase of severe brain injury is limited in Massachusetts, despite evidence that access at this critical phase improves outcomes.

A report and issue brief, prepared by Laura Lorenz, PhD, MEd and Gabrielle Katz, MPP candidate, was released at this forum and outlines recommendations to improve access across the continuum of care.  Research was brought forward to quantify the problems, costs, and the potential consequences to both the brain injury survivors and the state as a whole.  In addition the forum explored potential options and action steps to reduce disparities and move towards a more equitable distribution of critical resources.

Click here to view the Mass Health Forum Video  

Brain Injury Commission Report
The Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Commission was established in an outside section of the FY’ 11 Budget.  Beginning in January of 2011, the Brain Injury Commission met monthly to address serious gaps in services for individuals living with brain injury in Massachusetts.  In December of 2011, the Commission issued a report overviewing its major findings and gaps in services.

Click here to view the Brain Injury Commission Report

Epidemiology Report

One of the priorities of the Brain Injury Commission was to complete an epidemiological study of ABI in Massachusetts.  The findings of the proposed study were judged to be critical to informing the development of long-term community-based support services for both adults and children living with acquired brain injury.  Critical gaps in services for survivors of brain injury in Massachusetts were identified in this study.

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services requested that the Department of Public Health, design and complete an epidemiological study of the ABI population in Massachusetts, including an estimate of the magnitude of the population; affected age groups; region of residence; and other pertinent descriptive information for the major subcategories of ABI, including traumatic, neoplastic, infectious, vascular and metabolic causes of brain injury.

Click here to view the Epidemiology Report.

BIA-MA's Legislative Successes:

  • Active in obtaining an extra $1 million for MRC, line item # 4120-6000 in FY ’16, to fund a pilot community center to be located in Worcester.
  • Hutchinson vs Patrick Class Action Settlement.
  • Supported passage of Shaken Baby Syndrome Law.
  • Instrumental in passage of secondary Seat Belt Law.
  • Established HITS, financed by surcharges on drunk driving and speeding.
  • Leading in establishment of the Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP), which funds community-based and other support services for persons with traumatic brain injury.

For more information about Advocacy at BIA-MA, contact Kelly Buttiglieri at 508-475-0032 or