Medicare, through its contractors, has proposed new coverage, coding, and clinical care guidelines that would have a profoundly negative impact on amputees across the United States.
If implemented, the policy installs new barriers that would limit and potentially deny access to appropriate prosthetic care. It eliminates coverage for certain prosthetic devices that amputees depend on for every step they take every day. It even would preclude amputees from getting a prosthetic limb if they failed to meet the entirely nebulous and subjective standard of “the appearance of natural gait” while using the prosthesis.
Chew on that for a second: because some amputees can’t physically walk like an able-bodied person, they can’t get a prosthessis at all? I doubt I’m the only person who thinks that’s outrageous and offensive.
This isn’t a “Medicare-only” issue. Most private insurance companies follow Medicare’s coverage requirements. If this new proposal goes into effect, private insurers will soon adopt those same limitations, and virtually every amputee in the United States will then be subject to this arbitrary and discriminatory policy.
But you can help! As President of the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP), I started a “We the People” petition. This online tool, created by the White House “provides a new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. We created We the People because we want to hear from you. If a petition gets [100,000 signatures within 30 days], White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.”
We’re 6 days in and we’re closing in on 25,000 signatures. It’s a great start, but we’re going to need more help to get to 100,000. I’m therefore asking everyone who reads this post to share the following link with everyone you know and encourage them to sign the online petition requesting that the White House instruct Medicare to rescind the proposed policy:
It’s a simple process – the petition asks for a few basic pieces of information. After you submit it, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your intent to sign the petition. If you do not get the confirming email, your vote will not be counted, so please make sure to complete that final step.
I’d like to thank everyone in advance for their help and assistance with this critically important issue. Please help me help all amputees – myself included – retain access to the high-quality care and devices that allow us to live productive, healthy, and most important, independent lives.