The Amputee Coalition, along with many others in the prosthetic limb communities, are asking for help in raising awareness of a recent Medicare policy proposal released on July 16 that has the potential to drastically change prosthetic care for individuals with amputations. Keep in mind that even if you’re not currently a Medicare patient, private insurers often follow Medicare guidelines, so this issue could still impact you.
You may or may not have heard about the details of the Draft Policy for Medicare’s Local Coverage Determination (LCD) Article on Lower Limb Prostheses. As the only national amputee consumer advocacy organization, the Amputee Coalition is voicing their concerns about the potential impact these proposed changes could have on individuals that use prosthetics, and is providing formal comments that include recommended changes to the proposed policy to ensure patients continue to receive what they feel is appropriate prosthetic care.
The Amputee Coalition provides the following highlights (below) of some of the most significant concerns that they have found with this proposed policy. More detailed information about each concern is available at http://www.amputee-coalition.org.
Highlights of concerns with the proposed policy:
- Medicare will no longer consider your potential functional abilities with an appropriate device when determining your prosthetic needs.
- If you are using an assistive device such as a cane, crutch or walker, you will be limited to less functional prosthetic devices. If you have a higher functional level, Medicare will not pay for you to have a wheelchair.
- Combining feet and ankles into a single code and limiting access to advanced technology would significantly harm your access to the feet and ankles that best meet your individual needs.
- You and your medical team may no longer be able to select the necessary socket systems or liner inserts to ensure the most appropriate fit for your needs.
- You could be provided a less functional prosthesis or denied a device just because you may not be able to attain the “appearance of a natural gait,” or if your medical record references certain health complications.
- The Medicare proposal redefines the rehabilitation process for individuals with amputations and forces them to rehab on out-of-date technology that they will not even use once they receive their permanent prosthetic device.
There are several ways that you can help!
- Sign this petition today! They still need over 50,000 more signatures before August 30, 2015.
- Submit your letter to Congress on this important issue! Visit this site to fill out a form that goes to your representative.
- Like the Amputee Coalition on Facebook
- Follow Amputee Coalition on Twitter
- Tweet Medicare using their handle “@CMSGov“
- Also, you can put your face on this issue by doing the following:
Record a 10- to 15-second video of yourself doing an everyday activity; attach that video to a tweet. Pick a basic activity that you do every day (e.g., carrying your child, walking your dog, buying groceries, etc.).
End the clip by saying, “[insert activity] is not a luxury.” So, for example, if you shot video of you walking the dog, you’d walk toward the camera and then stop and say, “Walking my dog is not a luxury.”
Start the tweet with “@CMSGov.” ( the Twitter handle for Medicare), so that Medicare sees each and every video. Feel free to also tag @AmputeeUSA so that they can re-tweet your message!
After that, type “[insert activity] is #NotALuxury.” So again, using the previous example, the tweet would read, “Walking my dog is #NotALuxury.”
Finish by linking to the petition and asking Medicare to rescind this proposed policy. Below are two video examples:
— AshleyLynn (@248_459) August 7, 2015
— Stella Sieber (@sosieber) August 7, 2015