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!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the official blog of the Amputee Coalition.  It's been awhile since we've updated, but the delay is over. We are committed to maintaining an open line of communication with the community, and this blog is one vehicle to achieve that goal. We will be posting program updates and information on a weekly basis. Feel free to subscribe or check back often so that you never miss an update!  We're busy, and we can't wait to share everything that we're doing. 

We are delighted to announce that Sue Stout has been appointed CEO and President of the Amputee Coalition effective November 1.  Sue has been working in this capacity as Interim CEO since the vacancy became available in September, 2013. During this time she has overseen the growth of the Coalition through the expansion of both programming and staff.  We are excited to congratulate Sue on her appointment by the Amputee Coalition Board.

Sue began her career with the Coalition in 2011. During her tenure she has assumed multiple titles and roles providing her with vast experience about the inner workings of the organization. Regardless of her title, Sue has always kept serving the limb loss community as her number one priority.  With so many programs approaching pivotal junctures and with conference right around the corner (mark your calendars for July 23-25), it is comforting to have somebody seasoned at the helm.

“I am honored to take on this role permanently, and excited about the possibilities that lie in our future.  I will continue to bring leadership to and advance the organization with the assistance of our volunteers and the entire Amputee Coalition team as we carry on this exciting journey to achieve our mission to advocate for and empower those affected by limb loss and to promote limb loss prevention.”

Under Sue's stewardship you can expect an open line of communication between the Amputee Coalition and the community. Have an idea or suggestion?  Feel free to call our office, write on our Facebook page, send us a tweet (@AmputeesUSA) or leave a comment on the blog. Working together, we can move the organization to the next level.  Our strength lies in our numbers, and we want to hear from you!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Amputee Coalition Responds to Boston Marathon Tragedy

In the wake of the explosions at the Boston Marathon, the Amputee Coalition reached out to the leaders of the New England Amputee Association to help quickly get limb loss materials to the Boston hospitals that are treating the injured. The New England Amputee Association supports amputees in Boston and the surrounding region.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those killed or injured in the Boston Marathon explosions,” said Kendra Calhoun, president & CEO of the Amputee Coalition. “Peer support is critical to patients who undergo limb loss. It is also important that these individuals and their families have the resources needed to help them on their journey of recovery and readjustment.”
The Amputee Coalition’s National Limb Loss Resource Center is the nation’s leading source of information about limb loss and limb differences. The Center provides comprehensive information and resources free of charge to people with limb loss and their families and friends. The Center can be accessed by calling 888/267-5669 or visiting the Amputee Coalition Web site at amputee-coalition.org.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Annual Meeting

Last week, the Amputee Coalition participated in AAOP's 39th Annual Academy Meeting & Scientific Symposium.  The event provided an opportunity for the Amputee Coalition to get in front of practitioners from across the country and to help get materials and resources into the patient's hands.  We participated in several meetings and discussions about amputee care, and the impacts of current rules, regulations, and policies on the limb loss population.  The Academy's annual meeting offered a mix of clinical  scientific, and practice management techniques on current topics in the O&P world and had fantastic attendance from leading professionals throughout the country.
The event was a great success and saw a significant number of practitioners interested in working and partnering more with the Amputee Coalition to provide resources and programs for their patients.

Keeping in mind that the Amputee Coalition 2013 National Conference is right around the corner, this was also a great opportunity to meet with prospective exhibitors, and to partner with new companies that have never exhibited at our conference before.  There will be more to come on the Amputee Coalition's 2013 National Conference soon, but in the meantime, check out the National Conference page on our website for more information, to book your hotel room and register today!!


We look forward to seeing you at the Amputee Coalition's National Conference June 27-29th!