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Advocacy, Appeals and Rights
Advocacy, Appeals and Rights
Persons with brain injury and their loved ones are supported in efforts to advocate for themselves with the assistance of others. This guide is designed to assist persons with brain injury and their families in locating and accessing support systems and services. Ideally, you will be able to find providers who will work with you or your loved one to maximize independence and rehabilitation. Ultimately, you are the best advocate for yourself and your family. While many people will assist you along the way, you are the final decision maker.
The Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance, vocational rehabilitation counselors, resource facilitators, case managers, discharge planners, educational specialists and other professionals can assist you in understanding your options; you are the authority on what is best for your situation. Always remember that you are your own best advocate. Do not be afraid to ask questions or campaign assertively to access available services.
You should expect to have basic rights when navigating through the brain injury system. Each medical care facility should have a Patient's Bill of Rights to show you upon request. For example, you should have the right to know about treatment and rehabilitation plans, the right to direct and actively participate in rehabilitation service plans and educational planning, and the right to access your medical files. Seeking clarity is important for successful self-advocacy: ask questions until you fully understand your situation.
Appealing medical decisions is common in the brain injury rehabilitation process. If you are not satisfied with the decision that a provider has made regarding care, you have the right and responsibility to appeal that decision. While some appeals are denied, other appeals may improve the situation. Many persons with brain injury and their families have appealed and won decisions relating to government benefits, educational plans, insurance settlements and more. Do not feel that you are “complaining” or “being difficult” if you decide to appeal a decision.
The Minnesota Disability Law Center (MDLC) provides representation for persons with disabilities who live throughout Minnesota. The mission of MDLC is to advance the dignity, self-determination, and equality of individuals with disabilities. MDLC works to promote, expand, and protect the human and legal rights of persons with disabilities through direct legal representation, advocacy, education, and legislative analysis. MDLC pursues administrative and other appropriate remedies to ensure the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities. MDLC seeks to ensure that there is consistency in the range and availability of services for people with disabilities throughout the state.
The Minnesota Disability Law Center helps individuals with questions about brain injury and discrimination. Call 612-334-5970 (TDD: 612-332-4668) or 800-292-4150, address mail inquiries to 430 First Avenue North, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55401, or visit www.mndlc.org.
Continue to the next section, "Public Policy Advocacy."