Monday, December 8, 2008


Gov. Bill Ritter today issued an executive order to improve cooperation, collaboration and coordination among the various state agencies that provide care and services to a growing number of Coloradans with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).
Under the order, the Colorado Department of Human Services will lead a multi-department initiative to coordinate state services to the estimated 100,000 Coloradans living with TBI.
"The devastating consequences of traumatic brain injury on individuals and their families require a new and more collaborative approach on the part of the state," Gov. Ritter said. "This executive order will bring greater coordination to the various state agencies that deal with TBI. And ultimately it will improve our ability to provide the right kind of services." 
Each year 5,000 additional Coloradans sustain traumatic brain injuries requiring hospitalization. Incidence of TBI is also increasing among military personnel, many of whom return to Colorado for long-term treatment. Ten different state agencies play a role in serving the TBI community. The executive order directs the Department of Human Services to lead an effort that will:
·         Identify and coordinate brain injury services currently offered by state agencies.
·         Promote "horizontal" collaboration that can eliminate funding and service "silos."
·         Enhance government communication, coordination and service delivery.
·         Improve public awareness about available services.
TBI can cause a wide range of functional changes affecting thinking, sensation, language and emotions.  It can also cause epilepsy and increase the risk for Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other disorders that become more prevalent with age.  In addition, TBI generates direct medical costs and indirect costs related to lost productivity, learning disabilities and increased rates of poverty, divorce, depression and suicide.
"As the lead agency in this effort, the Department of Human Services looks forward to working with our sister agencies, as well as developing partnerships with private agencies, to better serve Colorado citizens whose lives have been impacted by brain injury," said Colorado Department of Human Services Executive Director Karen L. Beye.