Monday, March 6, 2017

Everything’s Different, But Nothing Has Changed

Traditionally, the dawn of a new year is the time to make resolutions to be better. It’s also a time to “clean out the closet” – out with the old, in with the new. This year, we decided to do both.

You spoke, and we listened. Based on your input, we have redesigned and streamlined the layout of inMotion.

For more than 25 years, our readers have looked to inMotion as a trusted source for news and trends in the limb loss/limb difference community. That has not changed. However, we wanted to make your relationship with our magazine more useful and enjoyable. We hope you'll find the new design makes the magazine easier to read while continuing to present the quality of information you expect from inMotion.

The coming year presents an array of new and old challenges and experiences for all of us. With the current state of the economy and healthcare reform, times may be tough, but every challenge also holds an opportunity, and we’re looking forward to the future with optimism, creativity and determination.

New Year's resolutions, no matter how well-intended, often fall by the wayside all too soon, but we are committed to making your experience with our magazine more enjoyable and informative year after year. Please let us know what you think of our new look. As always, we continue to welcome any thoughts you may have on how we can keep improving inMotion. Comments and submissions may be sent to editor@amputee-coalition.org.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

National Conference 2017

My foot was initially injured due to a freak accident when I was attending a conference. I suppose that this is the reason I tried to gracefully bow out professional conferences when I was working as a teacher. When my attendance was mandatory, I muddled through, but I was never particularly happy to be there.

Other than the conference which crushed my foot, I had never been to an event which changed my views or made much of an impact. I have always found the speakers to be dry and uninspired. I quickly learned that the attendees were there to collect professional development points, as was I, rather than to learn new techniques.

When I was asked to work at the Amputee Coalition conference several years ago, I was expecting a similar experience. To be honest, I did not expect to learn anything new or even to enjoy myself. At this point in time I had been an amputee for four years and I was comfortable living with a prosthesis. Out of my ignorance, I didn't realize that those few days would change my entire outlook on my life as an amputee.

I learned volumes during my time at the conference! Seeing and meeting hundreds of amputees of different limb loss levels and with different abilities and experiences was inspiring. While I normally become reserved and struggle to make new friends, I was surprised with the ease that I was able to make new connections. Many of those who I met during that first conference have become close friends and confidants.


Because I don't wear a cosmetic cover on my prosthesis, I am more apt to receive stares and gawking glances whenever I am out. I have learned to continue with my activities and, most of the time, I don't notice the attention. It wasn’t until I experienced the liberation that came felt being among hundreds of amputees at the Amputee Coalition conference did I realize how comforting it is to not always be the oddity. For the first time since I lost my leg, I was not "the only one." At National Conference, I become just one of many, and I completely fit in with the crowd.

There is a freedom to blending into a crowd that I miss when I am back in my home community. I never realized how comfortable it is not to be deemed "different.”  At the AmputeeCoalition conference the tables were turned, and those with all their limbs stuck out and drew attention. Conversations about components, liners and "bad leg days" abounded, and nobody gave it a second thought. For us, it is just a part of daily life. For a few days within the confines of the hotel, being an amputee was the norm.

Although I only spent a few days at National Conference, the experience it impacted my entire life. I gained a lot of confidence and resolved to start writing about my experiences. I made friendships which I cherish. Although I missed my husband and my little boy, I didn't want to leave.

This year the Amputee Coalition National Conference is being hosted in Louisville KY at the Galt House. Registration information has just been released, and I’m counting down the days. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and to making new ones. (maybe a sentence about early bird?)   If you are on the fence about attending conference, I implore you to give it a try. The experience can be life changing. I know, because it changed mine.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Competitive Bidding in the Presidential Budget



The Amputee Coalition is monitoring a proposal that was put forth in the President’s budget that calls for all Orthotics and Prosthetics to be included in the competitive bidding program under HHS.  The proposal is expected to save $38 billion over ten years.  Under current law, competitive bidding for anything more than off-the-shelf orthotics is currently illegal, so Congress would have to pass a law authorizing CMS to expand it to all O&P products. 

This proposal is bad news for the O&P industry but it is important to realize that while the proposal is in the President’s budget, it  is considered highly unlikely that this budget will move forward once it gets to Congress. 

This is the last year of the current President’s budget.  The budget contains a number of policy proposals that the President or administration staff wish to float to gather reaction from members of Congress. This calendar year, there is no chance this proposal will become law absent gigantic developments in Congress, which are not expected especially given the looming election.  The overall budget was labeled “Dead on Arrival” before it was even introduced.  Republicans in Congress, who head both chambers, have shown no interest in the President’s overall budget, let alone this specific proposal.

The Amputee Coalition will continue to monitor this proposal and will be speaking with members of Congress and CMS to voice our concerns and ensure these devices don't get lumped into the competitive bidding program.  Keep checking for updates that we will post to our Web site and on Facebook to keep consumers apprised of the situation.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Scholarship Opportunities



 
The Amputee Coalition is delighted to announce the academic scholarship opportunities for high school seniors and those currently enrolled in a College or University program and who continue to be enrolled for 2016-2017.

The Christina Skoski, M.D. Scholarship is a $1000 academic scholarship for one full-time undergraduate student who is enrolled in a College or University program during the 2016-2017 academic year.  Dr. Skoski was a full-time anesthesiologist who refused to let her Hemipelvectomy, the result of cancer as a child, define her. This scholarship was established in her name to continue her legacy.  More information about applying for the Christina Skoski, M.D. Scholarship can be found on our website.  The deadline for applying is June 6th.
 
The Scott Decker, M.D. Memorial Scholarship has been established in memory of Dr. Decker, an orthopedic surgeon who resided in and practiced in Maryland. Although he served all patient populations, the bulk of his work focused on the pediatric population. He dedicated his professional life to providing orthopedic care to children in the Maryland and Washington DC area. 

After his passing in 1989, his family and friends established this memorial scholarship with the goal of continuing his legacy of service to orthopedically challenged youth. The deadline for applying is April 6th, so don't delay! The recipient of this honor will receive $1000 towards their tuition expenses for the 2016-2017 academic year. 

The Amputee Coalition is honored to oversee the Scott Decker, M.D. and the Christina Skoski, M.D. Scholarships.  These scholarships are a wonderful opportunity for those with limb loss who are enrolled in a higher education program during 2016-2017, and we encourage all individuals who meet the eligibility requirements to apply. Please feel free to call into our Limb Loss Resource Center should you have any questions about either of these scholarships.  We can be reached at 1-888-267-5669 FREE.

Monday, February 1, 2016

LLED Schedule

The Amputee Coalition is delighted to announce the locations and dates for our 2016 Limb Loss Education Days (LLEDs). LLEDs provide an opportunity for the limb loss community to gather locally to enjoy a day of pertinent education, exhibitors and to try a new sport or physical activity.  These low-cost events bring the limb loss community together with regional specialists and local resources.

“LLEDs are special events that allow the limb loss community, and those who support it, to gather together in one place from across a region,” says Sue Stout,president & CEO of the Amputee Coalition. “No other local gathering is as powerful and as important in educating, connecting people with local resources, and promoting healthy and fun recreation.”

This year the Amputee Coalition, in conjunction with local support groups, will be traveling to Houston TX, Memphis TN, and Sacramento CA. Registration is only $15, with children 10 years and under free (registration for children 10 years and under will be done at the event). More information, as well as the registration for our Houston TX event, is now available on our website.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Calling All Artists!

Are you an established or budding artist? Are you interested in displaying your masterpieces in a public venue? The Amputee Coalition has created an opportunity for artists to showcase their talents while helping a worthy organization.

Selected artwork will be showcased at the Amputee Coalition National Conference in Greensboro, NC for public exhibition. At the conclusion of the conference all pieces will be sold at a silent auction with the proceeds benefiting the Amputee Coalition. All donated art pieces can be considered a tax deductible donation.

We are accepting professional caliber submissions for this unique fundraising event. While various art mediums are being sought for this opportunity, we are not accepting crafts. Work must be ready to display no later than May 6th to participate.  Information about submitting your talents to benefit the Amputee Coalition can be found here.