A few months ago, Disability Insight ran a story about a proposed Alabama law designed to provide money for spinal cord injury research. On the last day of Alabama's 2012 legislative session, the bill passed and the TJ Atchison Spinal Cord Injury Research Program was established.
The bill is named after TJ Atchison, a young man who sustained a spinal cord injury as a result of an automobile accident in 2010. The program will fund spinal cord injury research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham through the use of fines from traffic tickets. While the State of Alabama hopes to find a cure for the greater good of individuals with spinal cord injuries, Alabama's decision to pass this bill was also driven by budgetary short falls and other financial issues like most decisions in government.
Currently, the cost of care for spinal cord injuries in Alabama is $515 million per year with $143 million being paid by the State of Alabama through Medicaid and indigent care. Alabama hopes to help derail these costs by finding a cure or advanced treatments for spinal cord injuries.
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