CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two and half years after a drunk driver hit him on Capitol Street, B.J. Berkhouse is getting around with the help of a walker.
But like many with traumatic brain injury (TBI), Berkhouse says he still can't do simple chores. The former SkyWest customer service representative also suffered facial fractures and a stroke. He lives with his brother's family in Sissonville.
"I still need somebody to do little things like laundry, carrying stuff, cooking," said Berkhouse, who didn't have health insurance when he was hit.
For years, the state's services for people with TBI have been the subject of legal battles, with advocates saying West Virginia must do more.
In 2009, the state Department of Health and Human Resources appealed a Kanawha County judge's orders to improve TBI services. Now, the state Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on the appeal Tuesday.
Judge Duke Bloom had ordered DHHR to apply for a federal Medicaid waiver for people with TBI. A waiver program lets people get services -- such as physical therapy and visits from health aides -- in their homes and communities, rather than being institutionalized.
Bloom also ordered the department to seek funding from the state Legislature for TBI services. The judge's orders were part of an ongoing case over the state's services for people with mental health issues.
In both 2001 and 2007, DHHR agreed to apply for a TBI waiver, but didn't follow through.
About 25 states have Medicaid waiver programs for TBI.
Car accidents and falls most commonly cause traumatic brain injury. Many military personnel are also returning home with TBI.
"The bulk of the people who get hurt are 15- to 24-year-old males," said Mike Davis, president of the Brain Injury Association of West Virginia.
Those who don't have insurance must rely on Medicaid, he said.
Despite appealing Bloom's order, DHHR did apply for a Medicaid federal waiver.