The following article was written by Crystal Price for KFox14.
A growing number of families in New Mexico are traveling to facilities in El Paso to receive adequate care for brain injuries. The Brain Injury Alliance of New Mexico, said that’s because there is no law that mandates coverage of post-acute rehabilitation services in New Mexico. “This way, the insurance companies in New Mexico can almost purposely write out cognitive rehab or neuro rehab in a post-acute setting,” said Nancy Peters, marketing director at Mentis and member of the Brain Injury Alliance of New Mexico.
Senate Bill 52, a bill that would have changed the rule in New Mexico, was endorsed this year. However, it did not pass the legislature. “It’s going to be on an ongoing battle,” Peters said. “We are fighting for them, we are their voice. We’re the voice of brain injury, and it needs to be heard loud and clear.”
Nicole Lardner is a 21-year-old corrections officer from Albuquerque. Lardner was seriously injured in a car accident in October. It put her in a coma for days and left her with a traumatic brain injury. “The left side of her body actually has muscle spasticity so it’s interfering with her attempts to talk,” said Michelle Lardner, Nicole’s sister.
Nicole was able to receive up to 30 days of treatment in Albuquerque, but that was it. “With the insurance, there was a limited time frame,” Michelle said. Nicole Lardner was still in need of care, so her family took her to the closest post-acute rehab facility they could find — nearly 300 miles away in El Paso.
“If they’re not better in 30 days, then that’s it, that’s the end of the road,” Michelle Lardner said. After a month at Mentis, Nicole’s family said they could not afford to keep her in El Paso any longer. However, Michelle said she and her family are thankful for the care Nicole was able to receive in El Paso.
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Thanks to Google for helping me find the article; Crystal Price for writing the article; KFox14 for publishing the article; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture and text in this post.