Whether it’s from a motor vehicle accident, a fall, a near-drowning experience, physical assault or some other trauma, a traumatic head and/or spinal cord injury can be a life-changing event. This kind of event doesn’t just affect the individual — it also impacts the lives of their loved ones, who may eventually become the caregiver, assisting with daily living activities like bathing and dressing.
In Louisiana, the Traumatic Head & Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund Program (THSCI) helps those with such injuries, who meet eligibility requirements, to return to a reasonable level of functioning and independent living in their communities. The Louisiana Legislature created the program in 1993 with Act 654. Through this act, the program is funded by imposing additional fees on motor vehicle violations in Louisiana for the offenses of driving under the influence, reckless operation and speeding.
The Louisiana Department of Health’s, Office of Aging and Adult Services administers the THSCI Program, which includes but is not limited to processing admissions to the program, paying service providers for services on behalf of eligible individuals and reviewing Plans of Care. In addition, the Brain Injury Association of Louisiana (BIALA) serves as the program’s designated resource center for people with traumatic head and/or spinal cord injuries.
Who may be eligible for assistance through the program?
Louisiana residents who have suffered a traumatic head and/or spinal cord injury may apply for program assistance.
A traumatic head injury is caused by an external physical force, such as falls, which affect the brain, producing diminished or altered state of consciousness. The injury can lead to impaired cognitive and/or physical functioning. Degenerative or congenital conditions do not meet the definition of traumatic head injury as it relates to the program. For example, a person with Alzheimer’s would not be eligible for the THSCI program.
Similar to traumatic head injury, a spinal cord injury is caused by an external force, such as a car accident. This kind of injury can lead to paraplegia (paralysis of the legs and lower body) or quadriplegia (paralysis of both the arms and legs). Degenerative and congenital conditions do not meet the definition of spinal cord injury as it relates to the program. For example, a person with spina bifida would not be eligible for the THSCI program.
To be determined eligible for services, a person must:
- Meet the definition of traumatic head/spinal cord injury (above), per their treating physician
- Be a resident of Louisiana and officially domiciled in Louisiana at the time of the injury and while receiving services
- Have a reasonable expectation to gain improvement in functional outcome with assistance, per their treating physician
- Have exhausted all other Medicare and Medicaid sources as attested to by the applicant
- Provide proof of denial from other sources, if requested
- Be willing to accept services from an approved facility or program
- Complete and submit the appropriate application for services
- Cooperate with program requirements
What services are available?
Participants work with their assigned case manager to develop a Participant Service Plan that offers flexible services aimed at improving how they function in their homes and communities as it relates to their injuries. Eligible participants may receive services including, but not limited to:
- Evaluations and therapies
- Post-acute medical care rehabilitation
- Home and vehicle accessibility modifications
- Medication and medical supplies
- Personal Care Attendant Services
- Equipment necessary for activities of daily living
- Transportation for non-emergency medical appointments
- Other goods and services deemed appropriate and necessary
- Post-acute medical care rehabilitation
Service providers must be THSCI Program approved, with in-state facilities and programs receiving priority. All services are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Is there a cap on what I can receive?
An individual’s expenditures are limited to $15,000 for any 12-month period or $50,000 total per person per lifetime
How do I apply?
Call (225) 219-2410 or (888) 891-9441 for questions, additional information or to have an application for services sent to you. You can also download and print the application Mail the completed forms with original signatures to the THSCI Trust Fund Program, P.O. Box 2031 – Bin #14, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-2031.
Additional resources are available through the Brain Injury Association of Louisiana Resource Center, 8325 Oak St., New Orleans, LA 70118. The association also staffs a 24-hour support line at (504) 982-0685.