The Amputee Coalition is thankful to all of the individuals who took the time to get engaged and who spoke out against the recent Medicare Local Coverage Determination (LCD) proposal. The proposal was released on July 16, 2015, and a public comment period was available until August 31, 2015. While our voices have been heard, and thousands of individuals have submitted letters and signed petitions, we still need your help!
Coming soon, the Amputee Coalition will be providing a sample letter that you will be able to send to your members of Congress asking for their help. Even if you sent a letter during the public comment period in August, this letter will be different and will include a specific request as to how your elected officials can help, so we will be encouraging everyone to send the new letter to their elected officials once we post it.
We’ve provided information below about the proposal and what the Amputee Coalition has done on this important issue affecting the limb loss community.
Background and Frequently Asked Questions
- Proposed/Draft Local Coverage Determination (LCD): Lower Limb Prostheses (DL33787)
- Background and Frequently Asked Questions
- Amputee Coalition Webinar on Medicare’s Proposed Changes to Amputee Care
- PDF of Webinar slides
The Amputee Coalition laid out several specific concerns with the proposal that would drastically impact amputees’ ability to receive the most appropriate prosthetic device at the most appropriate time. The concerns the Amputee Coalition outlined in the proposal included the following:
- Medicare would 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 would be limited to less functional prosthetic devices. If you have a higher functional level, Medicare would 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 would not necessarily be able to select the necessary socket systems or liner inserts to ensure the most appropriate fit for your needs.
- You would 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 referenced certain health complications.
- The Medicare proposal would redefine the rehabilitation process for amputees and force new amputees to rehab on out-of-date technology that they would not even use once they received their permanent prosthetic device.
As a result of these concerns, the Amputee Coalition submitted formal comments during the open comment period and encouraged all of our members to help raise awareness and address these concerns with the proposal. The community overwhelmingly responded by signing a “We The People” White House Petition that garnered over 109,000 signatures in less than 30 days, and sent nearly 15,000 template letters to the formal comment mailbox and their elected officials. A public comment meeting was also held in Baltimore on August 26, 2015 that saw the community come together to voice their concerns. In a packed ballroom and with more than 400 attendees on a teleconference line, amputees, professionals, and organizations told the Medicare Contractors how serious this issue was for amputees and how powerful we are as a community.
Amputee Coalition’s response to the proposal
- Amputee Coalition Initial Formal Comments
- Amputee Coalition Public Meeting Comments
- Amputee Coalition Addendum to Formal Comments Addressing Specific Language in the Proposal
- Sample Letter Drafted by the Amputee Coalition that Advocates Sent to Medicare and Members of Congress
- “We the People” Petition
- Researchers Letter/Comments
Throughout the process, the Amputee Coalition communicated to our members and the press about how this proposal would impact amputee care and saw more than 400 press hits nationwide and helped draw attention and raise awareness about the impacts this proposal would have on amputees.
Meetings the Amputee Coalition has had with officials about the proposal
- Amputee Coalition, AOPA, NAAOP Met with Medicare Officials at HHS on August 26, 2015
- Amputee Coalition Leadership Met with Medicare Officials at CMS on August 18, 2015
Press releases from the Amputee Coalition about the proposal
- August 29, 2015: The Amputee Community Rises to Occasion for a Successful Meeting!
- August 28, 2015: Medicare Should Not “Turn the Clock Back” on Standard of Care for 2 Million American Amputees (PDF)
- August 25, 2015: Amputees, Experts: Don’t “Turn Back the Clock” on Standard of Care for 2 Million American Amputees (PDF)
- August 25, 2015: Ahead of Wednesday Hearing, Amputee Leaders to Tell Medicare: Don’t Deny Us Access to Needed Prosthetic Care (PDF)
- August 20, 2015: Groups: Medicare is Eyeing a “Significant Setback” in Care for 2 Million American Amputees
- August 17, 2015: Amputee Coalition Press Release: WH Petition – 100,000 Signatures Reached
- July 25, 2015: Amputee Coalition Initial Press Release
Eblasts from the Amputee Coalition about the proposal
- August 27, 2015: Your voices have been heard but we still need your help!
- August 17, 2015: White House petition to rescind the Medicare proposal restricting access to prosthetic limbs has reached over 100,000 signatures!
- August 10, 2015: Medical Issue Alert! Become Involved and Sign the Petition!
- August 3, 2015: Please sign the online petition and help us halt proposed Medicare coverage changes for amputees.
Finally, the Amputee Coalition developed the #NotALuxury campaign on social media that highlighted that prosthetic devices are not a luxury for amputees but are necessary to be able to remain active and independent members of their community. You can see the community’s response by going to https://twitter.com/hashtag/notaluxury and post your own comment!