Get to Know the Historic Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission
When it comes to helping its citizens with spinal cord injuries, Arkansas has serious bragging rights — it is the first state in the country to maintain a registry of people in the state with spinal cord injuries. Called the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission (ASCC), this registry was first created in 1975. The purpose of the commission is to help Arkansans with spinal cord injuries live as independently as possible.
When the commission was created in 1975 however their purpose was to create a premier spinal cord injury rehabilitation hospital that didn't exist in Arkansas at the time. Some of the best spinal cord injury rehabilitation hospitals in the country become part of the Federal Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems of Care, which is a list of the best hospitals to go to if someone has a spinal cord injury.
This goal has never been met, however that hasn't stopped the commission from transforming the lives of people with spinal cord injuries in Arkansas. The Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission has become a multifaceted state program that is an integral part of helping people with spinal cord injuries in the state.
Are You Eligible?
When you have a new spinal cord injury in Arkansas, the first organization you will hear from is the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission. They are tasked to contact your medical facility as soon as they hear about your injury. It is also the responsibility of your doctor to report your spinal cord injury to this commission for you to be eligible for funding as well. A new spinal cord injury must be reported within five days of the injury to be considered eligible.
Services Provided by the ASCC
One of the most important things the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission does today is to provide case management services to people with spinal cord injuries. State case managers for someone with a spinal cord injury will make sure that they get all of the state funding they deserve and will fight on their behalf. They also provide a variety of consumer-driven service programs for their clients.
One of these programs is the ASCC Long-Term Attendant Care Program. This program provides reimbursement for PCA services to clients with quadriplegia. They provide 4 hours of care per day for PCAs. Also, clients can obtain purchase services when their insurance will no longer cover them.
Some of these services are things like wheelchairs, cushions, after equipment, medical supplies, medications, home modifications, wheelchair ramps, outpatient therapy, and short-term attendant care.
The ASCC can also be credited for starting the Think First program in 1987. This program promotes safe driving and seat belt use to youth. They also have the Arkansas Education and Resource Center on Spinal Cord Injury that provides over 900 references on everything spinal cord injury-related.
Providing educational resources about the life of the spinal cord injury to people with new injuries and their families in another program offered by the ASCC. The commission will give basic information on spinal cord injuries to the general public and healthcare professionals. It's important as well to have a state agency that continually looks at the needs, issues, and trends of the health and lives of individuals with spinal cord injuries. The ASCC will make recommendations to the state on programs that may be needed or general funding recommendations.
Maintaining the Arkansas Spinal cord Injury Disability Registry is also a big job. They will work to promote timely reporting of this registry, as well as to conduct surveillance, collect data and analyze and disseminate registry information. They will also look outside the state to similar spinal cord injury research projects to compare data.
We also cannot forget to mention the equipment recycling centers offered by the ASCC. Also known as their Equipment Loan Program, they will loan out durable medical equipment to people with new spinal cord injuries such as wheelchairs, shower chairs, hospital beds, portable ramps, and adaptive bath equipment.
The Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission is an integral part of the services available for people with spinal cord injuries in Arkansas. Without it, it's hard to imagine where the people with paralysis living in Arkansas would be. If you have a new spinal cord injury in Arkansas and would like to make a referral (all referrals must be made by a medical professional), you can do so here: https://www.spinalcord.ar.gov/programs-and-services/make-a-referral.
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Spinal Cord Team