Together with our thousands of supporters, the Amputee Coalition is a nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to ensuring no amputee feels alone and that amputees and their families have the resources they need to recover, readjust and live life fully with limb loss/difference. Headquartered in the Greater Washington DC Area in Manassas, Virginia, we have more than 200 support groups in our network, more than 900 certified peer visitors across the country, and more than 65,000 friends in our data base.
In 1986, a small group of amputee support group leaders recognized the need for an organization dedicated to the needs of people with limb loss, their families and healthcare providers. Working entirely as volunteers, they laid the foundation for what the Amputee Coalition of America (d.b.a Amputee Coalition) is today, the leading national non-profit organization that empowers individuals with limb loss through education, support and advocacy.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
In 1997, the Amputee Coalition received a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and manage the National Limb Loss Resource Center (NLLRC). The many programs and publications supported by the NLLRC are annually evaluated to ensure they help people who have an amputation or are born with limb difference return to an active lifestyle as a productive member of society. This relationship continues today through a competitive grant program by the CDC for limb loss. Resource continue to grow the Center continues to become more sophisticated in its interaction with consumers. Visit our Limb Loss Resource Center.
Because our organization was built on the foundation that peer support is critical to an amputee's recovery and readjustment, our programs have a large focus on peer support. In 1991, we began our certified peer visitor program which trains amputees to meet with new amputees to give them inspiration, hope and information about living with limb loss. This program now includes more than 900 certified peer visitors across the nation and has expanded to include a special program family members—this program will begin in 2013.
Amputee Coalition certified peer visitors are the only peer visitors participating in the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) amputee care programs. Additionally, the Amputee Coalition participates in the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) standards and our peer visitor program meets in those standard's requirements.
In addition to our certified peer visitor program, we manage our National Peer Support Group Network which links amputees with ongoing peer support in their communities. More than 200 support groups are members of this network. We also are preparing a Promoting Amputee Life Skills course that promotes self-management to improve their quality of life.
Fight for Fair Insurance
In 2002, we began the fight to ensure amputees have fair access to prosthetic devices. Today our fight is more important than ever. Over the years, we have introduced revisions to more than 35 state and federal legislatures. We have successfully passed revisions providing insurance coverage in 20 states affecting an estimated 300,000 amputees and millions of Americans at risk for amputation in future years. Federal impact is pending the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Limb Loss Education & Outreach
Since 2003, more than 7,000 people have attended the Amputee Coalition National Conference. As the nation's premier educational event for the limb loss community, our conference brings together hundreds of persons with limb loss/difference, family members & healthcare professionals for learning, interaction & networking. No other educational event in the United States addresses issues important to amputees & their families.
In 2012, we launched a new educational program series called Limb Loss Education Days which brings our high quality educational programming to the local level and serving amputees in their communities.
Limb Loss Task Force
In 2010, the Amputee Coalition convened the first Limb Loss Task Force Summit with the concept of improving amputee care and reducing limb loss in America. The first Summit resulted in the creation of a roadmap for both efforts. View the white paper here. The second Summit held in 2012 developed an action plan to create a demonstration project aimed at proving the impact of a limb loss prevention algorithm in use in the VA healthcare system which has reduced amputations by as much as 30%. This effort is currently underway.
Limb Loss Awareness Month
Naming April National Limb Loss Awareness Month was a bold move by the Amputee Coalition in 2010. Today the month is celebrated across the United States and around the world as a time to recognize those living with limb loss and to raise awareness about limb loss prevention.