As you know, I am an occupational therapist specializing in upper limb prosthetic rehabilitation and in single-handed strategies for those who do not use this technology. I am also a consumer; I have a congenital upper limb deficiency. I have worn and used a prosthesis since I was 14 months of age; at the current age of 59 years, I continue to enjoy the opportunity to wear and use this technology. I truly believe that it has made a difference in my life. Am I able to complete activities without a prosthesis? Yes; but with great cost... cost to efficiency, energy, body integrity, social comfort and even quality of life. Is a prosthesis necessary for all amputees? Maybe not; however we deserve the opportunities to have the choice and to access the technology if desired or needed. These opportunities are currently under threat.
A new proposed coverage policy for lower limb prostheses drafted by Medicare’s contractors has raised significant alarms across the community because of the extremely negative impact it would have on amputees, with some stating it would set prosthetic patient care back four decades to a 1970s standard of care.
As drafted, the proposed Medicare coverage policy could limit and delay access to prosthetics for people with limb loss.
Right now the government is listening while the draft policy is in a formal 45-day comment period. This comment period ends at the close of business on August 31, 2015. That’s why now is the time to speak up about concerns.
The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP) has initiated a petition to the White House to completely rescind the draft policy. The petition needs to reach 100,000 signatures by the end of August to go to the Obama Administration for comment – a critical step to ensure the highest level of government pays attention to this issue.
I urge you, as a consumer, a clinician, a caregiver, a citizen to become involved and to advocate for better services.
To sign the petition, please visit:
gov/petition/rescind-medicare- proposal-restricting-access- prosthetic-limbs-and- returning-amputees-1970s- standards-care.
Immediate steps are being taken across the community to rally with one voice, and every one of us can be a part of this. Please share this with friends and family and ask for their support!
To learn more about this proposal, watch this video at http://www.naaop.org/vid.asp?
name=webcast_august-2015.mp4 and visit The Amputee Coalition’s Grassroots Advocacy Center at http://www.amputee-coalition. org/advocacy-awareness/ federal-issues/medicare-issue- alert/
I thank you for your support!