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. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

2016 National Conference

 

The Amputee Coalition is delighted to announce that registration and information for our 2016 National Conference is now available. This year the Sheraton Greensboro at Four Seasons in Greensboro, NC, will host the event. Informative sessions, clinics, exhibitors, networking opportunities and friendships abound as the community converges at National Conference from June 9-11.

Our exhibit hall will be packed with manufacturers, companies, and organizations with representatives ready to share information and services for the limb loss community.  The latest innovations in prosthetic and adapted technologies will be on display so attendees will be able to talk with manufacturers and to see the technology in action. 

This year, 30th Anniversary Dinner Dance Party tickets are available for purchase separately from your Conference registration. Dinner-Dance Party tickets are only $40 for each adult and $30 for each child 17 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the same time as online conference registration. For those unsure about attending the Dinner-Dance Party,  tickets will also be available for purchase on-site.

 We are delighted to again be offering the opportunity to apply for the Kathy Spozio Bridge to Ability Scholarship. This scholarship helps defray the costs of attending the conference to those who qualify. The scholarship is designed to help individuals who have experienced the loss of a limb within the past three years.  The Bridge to Ability Scholarship provides full conference registration fees. In addition, the scholarship covers lodging expenses and reimbursement for a portion of travel expenses. More information about this scholarship can be found here.

No other event for the limb loss community is as highly anticipated as the AmputeeCoalition’s National Conference. The information gathered and the friendships formed can be life changing for attendees, and we are proud to host this opportunity for the community.  Register today!



Friday, November 20, 2015

Season of Giving

During this season of giving, there are several easy ways to support the mission of the Amputee Coalition. Tax deductible donations are always accepted on our website.  Donations made to the Amputee Coalition in honor of a friend or family member can be a wonderful gift.  In addition to the knowledge that the gift donation will be utilized to help the community through our programming and services, the giver will reap the benefits of avoiding the lines, frustrations and traffic often associated with finding the perfect gift. 

The Amputee Coalition welcomes individuals who want to fundraise on behalf of the organization.  From bake sales to community walks, the staff of the Amputee Coalition are available to help organize a successful event. Please contact us if you would like to host a benefit event. 

Shopping through Amazon Smile is an easy way to support the Amputee Coalition.  Visit http://smile.amazon.com/ to get started. After designating the Amputee Coalition as the preferred charity, a portion of each sale will be donated to the organization. Rest assured that the cost of the products does not differ when shopping through the Smile program.

From our families to yours, the Amputee Coalition staff would like to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving.