My friend Dave and I are trying to be rallying the community, hoping to gain more momentum in the fight against these horrific proposals. After a lengthy chat yesterday morning, we agreed that far too many amputees are not fully grasping the ramifications of these proposals. While it may be comforting to believe that your prosthetic care will not be impacted because you are not currently on Medicare, no amputee is safe if these proposals are enacted. Private insurers follow Medicare, so it will quickly become a matter of when, not if, your lower extremity prosthetic care will change.
Imagine having to undergo inpatient rehabilitation each and every time a new prosthetic is needed. I know I don't have the time, nor the exorbitant co-payments, to be admitted to a facility for such an erroneous reason! Why inpatient rehabilitation? Because the prosthetist will no longer have a vote concerning your functional level. Instead of guiding the prosthetic care team, the prosthetist will be limited to simply assembling the predetermined components and building the socket.
Are you utilizing an elevated vacuum system? The new proposals completely eliminate this possibility. Custom fabricated inserts will be replaced with off the shelf, one size has to fit all versions.
Even occasional reliance upon canes, crutches and wheelchairs will equate a prosthetic denial for the devices that would best benefit the individual. As I learned years ago, crutches are cheaper than legs. Of course, the fact that the MobilitySaves study, proving that mobility aids and prosthetics save money in the long run, is being completely ignored.
In order to gain awareness about the potential impact on the average amputee, Dave and I are launching a social media project. We are asking all amputees to film a short video clip, no more than 14 seconds, featuring them doing a normal daily task with their prosthesis. At the end of the video, state the activity and add the words "not a luxury." For example, I will be filming a clip of walking with Timmy and at the end of my video I will say, "Taking care of my child is not a luxury."
We are looking for average activities, not super athletic feats. Whatever you are able to do because of your prosthesis, please film a clip. We want to flood social media with videos demonstrating the impact of a prosthesis on regular life.
Please share your video through all of your social media outlets, using the hashtag #NotALuxury. We are also encouraging everybody to tweet the video directly to @CMSgov, the official twitter handle of the organization behind this horrific proposal. Members of this committee need to see and hear directly from the community!
Please help us with this project by making and posting a video. We need as many involved and visible as possible. The fate of future prosthetics is at stake!
Videos should be tweeted in the following way: