It’s a busy week over at the Amputee Coalition. Two big pieces of news have come out, and both require action on your part.
First, registration is now open for the organization’s annual conference. The all-online event will take place August 19 through 22, with tracks on health and wellness, work and career, youth and family, and community engagement. There will be informational sessions about the challenges brought on by COVID-19. You’ll be able to interact with presenters and fellow participants during live online sessions, and to connect in community roundtables. And you’ll have the opportunity to watch recordings of any sessions you may have missed (or wish to watch again) after the conference is over. There will even be a virtual exhibit hall.
With reduced registration fees and no travel or lodging expenses, the conference is especially accessible this year. We’ll keep you apprised of programming details as more information becomes available. If you’re ready to pull the trigger, here’s the registration page.
The second piece of news comes out of Washington, D.C., where Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the Access to Assistive Technology and Devices for Americans Study Act. A key preliminary step to improving amputees’ access to fair insurance, this bill directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to identify barriers to care, gaps in assessments and prescriptions, and performance measures for timely coverage. It will also study the economic impacts (including return-to-work rates) of current policies, while providing an “apples to apples” comparison of care and outcomes across insurance sectors (Medicare, VA, Department of Defense, and private insurance).
“This bill is the first of its kind, and the first one in seven years that directly addresses the needs and challenges in accessing care for the limb loss and limb difference community,” says Jeffrey Cain, M.D., Chair of the Amputee Coalition Board of Directors. “The bipartisan collaboration shown with this bill will help ensure greater access for people with limb loss who need prosthetic devices so they can live the life they most want to and return to their independence and ability to engage in their community.”
There are real opportunities during the remainder of this congressional session for this bill to advance. It may get folded into a COVID relief package, a funding extender, or the budget omnibus. The Coalition is asking everyone to contact their senators and urge them to support the legislation.