the amputee bill of rights

In our most recent podcast, Peggy and I share our thoughts about which amputee rights are so fundamental that they should be included in a new amp’d Amputee Bill of Rights. We talk about how this project started, the way in which we came up with the rights included in this document and gave listeners a glimpse into the reasoning behind our choices.

But what we have done so far is only version 1.0 of the Amputee Bill of Rights. In order to finalize it, we are seeking input from everyone in the limb loss / difference world. Our goal is to ultimately publish a document that has feedback from and the support of everyone with less than four complete limbs. So we are asking you – please review version 1.0 and share your thoughts with us.

How do you do that?

  1. Download the amp’d Podcast Summary (Episode 17) and review the amp’d Amputee Bill of Rights version 1.0.
  2. Let us know what you think. What did we miss? How can we improve what we’ve already got? You can reach out to us either by contacting us through our website, or by sending us an email at ampdpod@gmail.com. Either way, please include the words “Bill of Rights” in the subject line so that we can triage responses appropriately.

We look forward to your input. The deadline for submitting your comments is Friday, April 7th. We’ll publish the community-validated/created Bill of Rights the following week.

Thanks in advance for your help! We have already received lots of great comments and can’t wait to get more.

a two-fer

This week started normally. Peggy and I recorded our “standard” weekly podcast, which focused on explaining the alphabet soup of organizations whose work directly and indirectly affects people with limb loss/difference. These include entities that certify the prosthetists who treat us, accredit the facilities in which we receive that care, and devote significant time to prosthetic research and legislative initiatives.

Straightforward, right?

Then, late Monday afternoon, House Republicans released The American Health Care Act, the first step in following through on their promise to “repeal and replace” The Affordable Care Act. We read through the 120+ pages and recorded a new “special alert” podcast Tuesday evening that went live immediately afterwards. In it, we explained what The American Health Care Act would do and how it would directly affect people with limb loss/difference. We also issued a new call-out to our amp’d Activists to again reach out to their legislators to express their thoughts about this new proposal and created updated model letters for amputees and their relatives/friends to personalize and send to their Congressional representatives.

Both podcasts address issues of importance to amputees. If you’re not already subscribed to our iTunes or other podcast feeds, you can visit www.ampdpod.com to listen to them and download our Podcast Summaries. (We’ve now embedded podcast players into the site so you can listen to us without having to leave ampdpod.com.) And whether you’re an amputee yourself or a family member/friend of one, please visit the Current Issues section of our website to directly engage with your elected officials. Your voices matter. A lot. So speak.

the ADA explained

 

In this week’s amp’d podcast, Peggy and I take on a law that affects every person with limb loss/difference every day: The Americans With Disabilities Act. The post arose out of questions sent to us by one of our listeners, a bilateral amputee who sometimes uses a wheelchair at college.

In this discussion, we provide a summary of how the ADA protects all people with disabilities (including amputees), take a close look at those portions of the law that have the biggest day-to-day impact on us, and share information about which governmental agencies you should contact if you believe an ADA violation has occurred.

Nearly as important, Peggy and I take a small step towards podcast professionalism with the inclusion of (gasp) intro and outro music on the podcast. The composer of this stunning piece is none other than Max McGill, whose creative juices are apparently in full flow coming off a week spent in early January recording his band’s new EP (stay tuned for more on that in the future). Enjoy!

thanks to my missing limb …

A few days later than I’d like, here’s a quick update about the latest amp’d podcast. In the pod that went live this past Monday, Peggy and I shift away from our more technical discussions about health care reform and advocacy that have formed the basis for many of our recent talks. Instead, we tackle a more free-form topic: those aspects of limb loss that have made us thankful.

It’s a wide-ranging discussion that includes our respective Top 5’s, Peggy and me battling to the death about (un)watchable kids’ shows, and – at the end – unveiling some new tools now on the amp’d website.

Check it out this weekend to fill the hours between now and kickoff Sunday evening!

learn to fly

Check out the latest amp’d podcast to get a soup-to-nuts guide on how to navigate America’s airports if you have limb loss. From booking a flight to navigating security to boarding the plane to arriving at your destination, my talk with Peggy Chenoweth (aka The Amputee Mommy) covers it all.

In conjunction with the podcast, we have also added a new page to our virtual toolkit – Air Travel/TSA – that includes a comprehensive, downloadable tool to make air travel less frightening and easier to handle. It’s a great resource to use both at the planning stages and to have as a safety net while at the airport.

Als0 – a reminder: please reach out to your legislators and share your concerns about what would happen if prosthetics were no longer an essential health benefit or insurers were again allowed to assert pre-existing condition exclusions. Whatever you think of the current healthcare law, the fact that amputees (1) are not subject to annual or lifetime caps for prosthetics and (2) can switch from one policy to another without fear of pre-existing condition exclusions being asserted against them helps improve their access to medically necessary prosthetic care and treatment.

Visit the amp’d website’s Amputee Activism section to learn more about this issue and to access a model letter you can customize and email to your legislators today!

how to speak to politicians effectively

Last week in our amp’d podcast, Peggy and I issued a call to action to the amputee community and its family/friends. We asked you to reach out to federal legislators to ensure that two key protections provided by the current health care law – (1) classification of prosthetics as Essential Health Benefits, which prevents insurers from placing annual or lifetime caps on prosthetics, and (2) prohibitions on pre-existing condition exclusions – do not get repealed as part of the heated and quickly-evolving healthcare debate on Capitol Hill. As part of that effort, we created a new “Amputee Activism” section of our website, along with a tool designed to help you develop your skills as an amp’d activist.

In our newest podcast, we now walk through that tool step-by-step, showing you how to professionally and powerfully speak to your Representative and Senators about these two important issues. The debate in Congress is happening right now! If you wait to make your voice heard, it may be too late. So check out the latest amp’d, learn how to become an effective activist for the entire limb loss/difference community, and reach out to your elected officials immediately to ensure that they #DontExcludeAmputees.

 

new and improved

 

ampd

As many of my readers know, I have been recording podcasts for the limb loss community for years with my peer and friend, Peggy Chenoweth (the Amputee Mommy). Since my last post in November, she and I have been working hard to expand the resources available to individuals with limb loss and their family members in connection with that podcast (amp’d). This is the primary reason why less is more has gone silent over the last 60 days.

I am extremely proud to announce that the amp’d podcast now has a new online home – www.ampdpod.com. Peggy and I developed the website ourselves and all of the content it houses. Here are the key benefits ampdpod.com offers:

  1. If you subscribe to the site, you will get email alerts every time we post a new amp’d podcast.
  2. It links you directly to the iTunes podcast store if you’d like to subscribe to our podcasts directly through iTunes. (Yes – Peggy figured out how to make us a truly professional podcasting outfit – at least insofar as you can now get our podcasts in the same place that you can also subscribe to the TED Radio Hour, This American Life and Serial.)
  3. Not only can you access the audio of our podcasts on the site, now you can review our written podcast summaries, which are extremely helpful when we are discussing actionable items (like today’s podcast – more on that below). Also useful if you are hearing impaired or hate the sound of my and Peggy’s voices.
  4. Many of our podcasts discuss topics that inherently benefit from the inclusion of related tools that individuals with limb loss can use. So we have created a “Tools” section that includes downloadable resources to help you in selecting a prosthetist, coordinating prosthetic care with your physician, and drafting appeals. We have many other tools in the pipeline that we’ll be podcasting about in the near future.
  5. As of today, there is also an “Amputee Activism” section of the website. This will highlight calls to action for amputees regarding both state and federal issues. Today, January 9th, we have our first call to action on an issue of critical importance to all individuals with limb loss/difference: health care reform. This section of our website also includes numerous downloadable resources that every amputee should familiarize themselves with.

I implore less is more readers to check out today’s podcast, the related podcast summary, and all of the materials in the Amputee Activism section of ampdpod.com. As Congress initiates substantive discussions about repealing the current health care law, there are two issues of particular importance to people with limb loss – essential health benefits and pre-existing condition exclusions – that could have a direct negative impact on all of us if certain aspects of the current health care law are repealed. (As Peggy and I make clear at the beginning of this podcast, we are not pro-Obama or pro-Trump in our discussion of these issues – rather, we are pro-amputee. We will always support any policy/legislation that helps amputees and oppose that which doesn’t, regardless of which party/politician raises it.)

We need the limb loss community to make their voices heard regarding these important issues. Today’s podcast explains them in detail and directs you to resources on the ampdpod.com website that make engaging with your legislators quick and easy. Please join the #DontExcludeAmputees movement today!

Finally, I have to address the future of less is more. I love writing and sharing my thoughts with all of my readers. However, there are certain realities I have to acknowledge: (1) I can record 3-4 podcasts with Peggy on important and interesting topics in the same amount of time it takes me to write a single post; (2) I need to maintain and update the ampdpod.com website on a regular basis in order to ensure that the information there remains timely and useful; and (3) I need to fit everything amp’d-related around my full-time job, which I love. Accordingly, while I will continue writing the occasional less is more post that does a deep dive on an issue that hopefully interests you, the majority of posts you read here in the future will serve to highlight the work Peggy and I are doing with amp’d, as that is where I think I can have the biggest impact in the limited time that’s available to me.

Please visit www.ampdpod.com immediately so that you can take action today! While we don’t know what the future of healthcare will hold over the next four years, the potential ramifications on people with limb loss are (a) far-reaching and (b) could be immediate. So speak up now and use the tools on the amp’d website to help you do it.

Thanks to everyone. Happy New Year, and I look forward to talking with all of you both through the comments here and, increasingly, on www.ampdpod.com – the podcast (and now website) for people with limb loss.