Thursday, December 11, 2014

Paying it Forward through Research

The Amputee Coalition is committed to improving the lives of individuals living with limb loss.  Encouraging and supporting research in the field of limb loss is a key component to our mission. By participating in research, amputees are providing valuable information that may help to improve not only their lives but also may change the way many issues are treated in the future.  We believe that by facilitating research, we are able to impact current and future generations.

Acting as a conduit between researchers and participants, we work tirelessly to ensure that the studies remain ethical and maintain scientifically approved protocols. All studies posted on our website are thoroughly vetted by our Scientific and Medical Advisory Committee which hosts experts from a variety of disciplines.  Once the study has been approved by the Committee, it is posted on our website.

If you are a researcher and are interested in working with the Amputee Coalition, information can be found here. Once the required information has been received and if the proposal is approved by our SciMac Committee, we will work with you to secure participants. The Amputee Coalition is the ideal link between Researchers and the limb loss community. Because we recognize the importance of conducting clinical research, we maintain high standards for our researchers.

Our website currently hosts an array of active research opportunities. From phantom pain to limb transplants, the studies are as diverse as the community we serve. We encourage everybody to visit our website and to participate in these approved research opportunities. Many provide compensation for participants and all of the studies listed offer the opportunity to help advance scientific understanding of limb loss issues. You can rest assured knowing that every study listed on our website and promoted by the Amputee Coalition has been thoroughly examined and vetted by our panel of experts.

Participating in clinical research is an invaluable opportunity to give back and to improve the lives of fellow amputees. Many of the studies require minimal time commitments but offer the potential for reaping invaluable information.  By bringing researchers and the community together, we can all work to eradicate many of the obstacles associated with limb loss. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Your Gift List is Covered!

The holiday shopping season is upon us! From packed mall parking lots to long meandering lines inside the stores, it feels like the entire country has been thrown into a shopping frenzy. This year, instead of picking up another trinket that will most likely break quickly or gather dust in the corner, we would like to encourage you to consider gifts with a purpose.
Why not skip the malls and lines altogether and consider making an honorary donation to the Amputee Coalition. You and the honoree can feel good knowing that your donation will immediately be put to work helping the limb loss community. All donations are tax-deductible, and your honoree will received a thank-you notification from us informing them that a donation has been made in their name. 
If you are looking to gift something more tangible, we have a variety of Amputee Coalition gear available through our CafePress online store. From hoodies and t-shirts to mugs and magnets, our vast selection assures that we have the perfect item for everybody on your nice list this year.  Shopping through our CafePress shop will help us raise awareness and much-needed funds. Thirty percent of the purchase price of these products help fund the programs, services, resource information, and government relations activities that the Amputee Coalition provides for all amputees.
The gift of information cannot be understated. For the new amputee on your list, gifting First Step is akin to providing them with a road map for living a full life after limb loss. Paired with our newly released Insurance Coverage & Reimbursement Guide: How to be Your Own Advocate, and you will be providing a present that will be appreciated throughout the year. These publications can both be purchased through our Marketplace on our web site.
Whether through a direct monetary donation, the purchase of our branded gear, or procuring our publications, rest assured that the funds will continue to be put to good use. We appreciate your generosity and support and look forward to a busy and productive 2015.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Support is Just a Click Away!

We would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a very Happy Thanksgiving! While our office is closed today, information and assistance are never more than a click away.  Have you visited our website? It provides a wealth of information and resources cataloged in an easy to access format.

If connecting with another amputee directly is your goal, you can start the process for requesting a peer visitor at anytime using our convenient online form.  Although many can empathize with the fear, grief and confusion that the new amputee often experiences, those who have experienced an amputation can provide first hand knowledge and support. Our robust peer visitation program was a founding principle of the Amputee Coalition and remains a cornerstone program.

After a peer visitation request is received in our office, our staff and volunteers begin the process of matching.  We strive to pair the individual with a volunteer peer visitor of a similar amputation level and age who resides in the same geographic location. Our goal is to provide a face-to-face visit, but when that is not possible, we work to make introductions over the phone.

Rest assured that all of our peer visitors have completed our Certification course. They are fully vetted and trained, assuring that the same quality and standards are maintained by each volunteer mentor.  If you are interested in becoming a Certified Peer Visitor (CPV) you can begin the process here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mobility Saves

It seems that navigating insurance is becoming increasingly more difficult. As insurance companies are requiring additional information before providing individuals with the care and devices they are seeking, too many people are living without the tools that they need to resume an active and healthy lifestyle. In 2013 the Amputee Coalition commissioned Dr. Allen Dobson, health economist and former director of the Office of Research at CMS (then the Health Care Financing Administration) to conduct a database review study.

The purpose of the study was to evaluate the long term cost benefit of providing individuals with lower extremity mobility devices (including orthotics and prosthetics). An extensive review of nearly 42,000 cases, pairing those who received orthotic and prosthetic devices with those who did not, was conducted in this groundbreaking study.  All of the cases occurred between 2007-2010 and were submitted through the Medicare claims system.

Individuals provided with the necessary lower limb and spinal orthoses experienced greater independence and fewer emergency room visits than those who did not receive the devices.  Those with orthotics were able to sustain a more aggressive rehabilitation regime, allowing them to remain in their homes and avoid costly facility-based centers. The devices enabled the patients to remain mobile and minimized the incidents of being bed-bound.

The results of our comprehensive study were compelling and indisputable. Medicare could save up to 10 percent in healthcare costs ($2,920 on average) by providing lower extremity orthoses when medically necessary. Savings were also noted for patients who received spinal orthoses and lower extremity prostheses versus those who went without the devices. The results of this study have provided lawmakers and decision makers with the concrete proof that providing the necessary mobility devices does not increase Medicare costs and, over the long term can actually result in cost savings. The study clearly shows that patients who received orthotic or prosthetic services had lower or comparable Medicare costs than patients who needed, but did not receive, those services.

Have orthotic or prosthetic devices made an impact in your life?  We need to hear from you!  Please submit your story and help us make obtaining necessary devices a reality for everybody in the community.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Calling All Support Groups.

Five hundred amputations occur every single day in this country.  Yet despite that overwhelming statistic, many individuals feel alone when limb-loss happens to them or to a loved one.  Nobody should have to navigate through the adjustment to limb-loss alone, and this belief has remained a core value since we were founded in 1989.

We have paired the experienced amputee's desire to give back and help with the novice's quest for information and support through our support group network. Easily searchable by state, finding a limb loss support group is just a click away.  We are proud that our support group network has become a valuable resource for the limb-loss community and encourage anybody interested in becoming involved with a group to check it out.

Although we have a large listing of support groups already in our network, we know that there are even more that are not yet listed.  If you are a member of a support group that is not yet listed in our network, please let us know.  We are striving to create the largest support group network possible so that an available group can be found regardless of geographic location.  Becoming part of our network is easy and free!  Simply click here and provide us with some basic information. 

There is no cost to be part of our network, but the benefits are abundant.  In addition to being listed on our website, the support group will receive ten copies per issue of inMotion, our magazine dedicated to providing contemporary information to the limb-loss community.  Groups will also receive five copies of First Step, our comprehensive guide for adjusting to and living well with limb loss.  Support group leaders also have access to our monthly conference call where we provide support and help brainstorm and collaborate with group leaders across the country.  Complimentary registration for the Support Group Leader's Summit held at National Conference, is also included with membership in our network. 

Support group leaders are often unsung heroes, dedicating countless hours to helping those new to limb-loss. We appreciate what you do for the community, and we want to help.  Please consider submitting your group to our Support Group Network.  Together, we can make sure that every amputee has access to a support group regardless of where they live. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ask The Athlete Opportunities!

Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming about being an Olympian? Imagine yourself standing joyfully on the podium, representing your country while you proudly accept the accolades for your years of dedication and hard work. If you've ever been interested in actively pursuing your Paralympic ambitions, you don't want to miss out on our dynamic web chat series on the Amputee Coalition’s Facebookpage.

We have teamed with U.S. Paralympics to bring a diverse group of Paralympians to our Facebook community. Each month a different athlete clears their schedule and answers questions posed by the community. From adjustment to limb loss, to tips for athletic training, these athletes are here to bring a unique perspective to the chats.

Our Amputee Coalition Facebook web chats provide a rare opportunity for aspiring athletes and weekend warriors to post questions directly to the experts. Last month we featured Silver medalist Mike Shea. An avid snowboarder, he was able to provide insights into his components, his training routine, as well as general tips on how to become rated and train for the Paralympics. We want to thank Mike for his time, and for sharing his experience and knowledge with our community.  If you missed the chat you can catch up by reading it here.

In November, we are featuring seven-time Paralympian and right above knee amputee, Allison Jones. A well-versed athlete, Allison has competed previously  in both the summer and winter games.  Between her events  - track and road cycling (summer) and Alpine skiing (winter), she has earned an impressive eight medals, including two gold.

We are delighted to forge this collaborative relationship with the U.S. Paralympics. With so many people becoming involved with sports, whether for competition, health reasons and/or recreation, we are excited to bring seasoned experts to talk with our community. Don't miss the next Amputee Coalition Facebook chat on November 18th from 7-8 pm (EST), and stay tuned as we host additional athletes in the coming months.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Insurance Help Has Arrived!

Our highly anticipated Insurance Coverage and Reimbursement Guide is finally here!  The development of this valuable resource is in response to growing requests for assistance navigating the insurance process to secure devices, services and medical care. As insurance appeals become more complex, it is clear that many individuals living with limb-loss are becoming lost in paperwork and phone calls. Weighed down in bureaucracy, too many people are not getting the care that they deserve. 

This informative publication aims to help cut through the red tape, empowering individuals within the limb loss community. It features concrete instructions on how to become your own medical advocate.  From requesting the necessary information be placed into your medical records and securing the information needed to appeal,  to talking with your insurance adjusters about the care you require, we have provided the tools needed to begin leveling the playing field.

Unfortunately, denials are quickly becoming commonplace.  From power chairs to prosthetic devices, more people are experiencing the frustrations that come from denials. Our Insurance and Reimbursement Guide, authored by recognized experts, provides clear instructions to appeal the denial.  Following our precise and proven steps outlined in the resource, many individuals have been successful turning their denial into an approval.  

We have broken down the complex world of insurance reform into layman’s terms, providing the community with the tools needed to effectively advocate for their needs. Topics such as Insurance Fairness,Medicaid eligibility and Medicare co-pays are also explored.  In the back of the publication you will find an extensive list of organizations and non-profits committed to helping individuals live their best lives.

Recognizing the need for an unbiased and concise guide, we made the bold decision to produce this resource without ads.  Each of the 98 pages contains valuable information to help break down the insurance jargon while providing a clear path towards receiving benefits.

The Amputee Coalition remains committed to serving the limb-loss community across their lifespan. Our Insurance Coverage and Reimbursement Guide is another way that we are working to empower the limb loss community. Order your copy today to learn best practices when dealing with your insurance company, tips for becoming your own advocate, and a concise and proven way to appeal a denial.  You’re not alone, and we remain dedicated to helping!