Scientists disavowing the use of their research by Medicare officials to justify proposed prosthetic limb reimbursement changes, the social media campaign #notaluxury, and protests led by amputee rights groups and professional O&P organizations are among the voices protesting the proposed rule change.
The draft Medicare rule would immediately affect about 150,000 amputees among the 55 million Americans covered by Medicare. It has drawn widespread attention as it most likely would trigger comparable changes at the Veterans Administration and private payers dealing with two million US amputees, as well as the 185,000 people who undergo new amputations each year.
A 150-person strong Amputee Coalition/American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association group on August 26 outside the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) protested the draft rule, and more than 109,000 have signed a White House petition to rescind the proposal. In addition, nine authors of papers cited by Medicare as supportive of its planned move sent a letter to HHS that read, in part, “The proposed changes … in our expert opinion, would diminish both the quality and access to prosthetic care across our nation. We, as the experts cited in this document, wish to go on record as strongly opposing the draft [rule].”