May 2007 AST Newsletter
AST is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit limb loss support group.
With AST Chapters in
“So others may benefit from us.”
PA Prosthetic Parity Rally at the State Capitol was a Success:
The Prosthetic Parity Rally at the PA State Capitol on
Tuesday, April 24 was a full day of excitement, human interest, and a clinic
from some PA House Representative on how representative government works.
The members of the ACA, AST, and amputees from around the State of PA, had the
opportunity to speak at the 2 PM Press Conference, or were members of groups
who visited different PA Representatives to plead the need for the support of
Prosthetic Parity in PA. By supporting PA HB 317, and it's eventual passage into law, will result in Prosthetic
Parity in PA. PA HB 317, Prosthetic Parity will make it possible for
persons of limb loss to recover and return to a life of work and play. Some
American soldiers returning home as amputees from
L- R: Rep. Bernie O"Neill; Dr. John Rush, HANGER;
Rep. Tom Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia), Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming),
Rep. Nick Kotik (D-Allegheny), Rep. Fred McIlhattan (R-Clarion/Armstrong),
Rep. John Payne (R-Dauphin), Rep. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) , Sean Brame, speaker;
Ten year old Sean Brame, who has two prosthetic legs, and a prosthetic arm, addresses the HB 317 Rally about the many persons of limb loss in Pennsylvania, who have limited, or no insurance coverage for prosthetics. There is also a concern for young people like Sean, as to paying for prosthetics when they turn eighteen and are no longer under their parent's health insurance. Pictured here is Rep. Bernie O'Neill, helping Sean hold his speech. Rep. O'Neill was the original sponsor of the Prosthetic Parity bill last year, and now has over forty co-sponsors.
AST Meeting Schedule:
This is the schedule for our AST 6:30 PM Wednesday Meetings through the rest of this calendar year at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Mechanicsburg, except for the July 26* AST Meeting, which will be held on a Thursday at HealthSouth Outpatient Facility on Front Street in Wormleysburg:
"Sharing and Learning from Each Other."
Bring with you to this meeting, at least one, or two helpful
ideas you would like to share with the rest of us.
6:30 PM, Thursday, July 26, Pick Nick on the Patio
Return of Rod Shield’s Green Mountain Porch Pickers Blue Grass Band
See the next page for what you can do to help support Prosthetic Parity:
We recently received indication that Rep. Anthony DeLuca will be putting HB 317 up for a vote in the House Insurance Committee. This is our chance to get this bill onto the floor and keep it moving. Please, take action today to ensure that this important bill is passed out of committee and through the House!
Act now! Contact the House Insurance Committee today!
Make a call, send a letter or write an e-mail. They need to hear that
this bill is important to the people of
Dear Representative/Senator _________,
I am writing in response to [bill #], a bill for prosthetic coverage. In return for premiums paid for group health insurance, consumers expect to be covered for catastrophic illness or injury. Sadly, without legislation to ensure coverage, many people living with the loss or absence of a limb face discouraging obstacles when trying to obtain prosthetic care. Current changes in insurance plans are having a devastating effect on amputees and their families.
For example, companies will pay the surgical cost of amputating a limb, and for subsequent amputations caused by inactivity, while simultaneously limiting or even eliminating prosthetic coverage. Other payers impose such unrealistic annual and lifetime caps on prosthetic coverage that people with limb loss are unable to obtain prostheses.
When people discover that prosthetic care isn’t covered, they may be forced to use retirement or children’s college savings to buy a prosthesis to keep working. Some take out home mortgages, bank loans, or even use high interest credit cards to get the prosthesis they need.
biggest concern anybody has about passing a new mandate is cost. People fear
that big jumps in the cost of insurance will reduce access to healthcare. None
of us want to see health insurance costs pushed beyond the reach of the average
consumer. In actuality, the public sector would see savings because appropriate
private insurance coverage prevents shifting costs to the public sector. Our
best financial data to support this comes from
A Department of Health Care Policy and Financing report indicated the maximum increase in premiums for prosthetic provision would be 12 cents per member per month. This estimate didn’t take into account that there would also be a cost savings by both the private and public sector. In the first year of implementation, covering prosthetics and rthotics resulted in a net savings of almost half a million dollars. These savings were for medical expenses only.
The provision of prostheses results in a variety of benefits, some of which are fiscal in nature, while others are related to quality of life issues, which are less measurable. Non-fiscal benefits include a reduction in the secondary conditions caused by a sedentary lifestyle, less dependence on caregivers, and lowered risk of diabetes-related complications leading to additional amputation. In addition, this segment of the population can continue to be contributing members of society instead of becoming dependent on it.
Both the financial and social benefits provide a strong case for prosthetic coverage. I urge you to support [Bill #].
Your Name, Address, Phone, E-mail
Next Page for who to send your letter to:
Here are the links to each member of the committee. If you can take just a few minutes, write to the leadership of the committee. Or take a little extra time and contact the entire committee. Just make sure to take action today!
Majority (Room 115 IOB)
Minority (Room 105 ROB)
Micozzie, Nicholas A., Chairman
Making a Call: A phone call really makes a big difference. Chances are you will be leaving a message with a member of their staff. It is fast and easy!
Sample call/message: My name is _____. I am from _____ (city), PA. I am calling to urge Representative ___ to support House Bill 317, the prosthetic parity bill. Please, give this bill its day on the floor!
Please, make a call or send a letter today! Be sure to get your friends and family involved, too!
REMINDER: If the support group you attend is an ACA member support group, you and all members of your support group may register at the reduced support group member rate. Early Bird registration (on or before May 15) is $225 for members and $350 for nonmembers. That is a savings of $125!
Register now and beat the deadline of the early-bird special, which is May 15, 2007
For more information about the ACA Conference, see pages 40-41 in the January-February InMotion Magazine, or go to the ACA WEB Page at: www.amputee-coalition.org
PALS – Promoting Amputee Life Skills: If you are a limb loss person – an
amputee, you are invited to participate in a nationally tested Interactive
program where you will learn to manage your “disability” and improve the
quality of your life, and the lives of the people around you. PALS Classes are
each Monday evening for nine weeks, and begin on Monday, September 17 to
Monday, November 12 from 6 PM to 8:15 PM. The first five Mondays are at
HealthSouth in Mechanicsburg, and the last four at Pinnacle Health’s
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Legislation encourages insurance companies to remove limits for prosthetics
Rep. Bernie O’Neill (R-Bucks) today
rallied support for legislation he has introduced to remove limits in health care
insurance coverage for prosthetic devices. The rally, held at the state
Capitol, included stories of amputees, testimony from medical professionals
and support from O’Neill’s colleagues in the state House. Pictured with him
(from left) were: Rep. Fred McIlhattan
(R-Clarion/Armstrong); Rep. John Payne (R-Dauphin); Morgan Sheets, national
advocacy director of the Amputee Coalition of
Several dozen amputees and their
families joined Rep. Bernie O’Neill (R-Bucks) and the Amputee Coalition of
“People who have lost a limb – due to an illness or accident – have a new lease on life with the modern advances in the field of prosthetics,” O’Neill said. “In addition to the challenges they face learning to live with their disability, they may face significant financial hardships that come with the costs of prosthetics, fittings and therapy.”
Currently, coverage varies among health
insurance companies that sometime evaluate coverage on a case-by-case basis.
Many insurance companies in
“We have hundreds of positive stories of inspirational people who are living fulfilling lives with their prosthetic devices. We just need to make it easier for them to get this much-needed equipment,” he said.
O’Neill’s legislation, House Bill 317, would provide consistency for insurance companies to provide coverage – or in some cases offer reimbursement – for prosthetic devices by removing the use of annual or lifetime caps on prosthetic services.
“In return for premiums paid for group health insurance, consumers expect to be covered for catastrophic illness or injury. Sadly, without legislation to ensure coverage, many insurers are curtailing, or even eliminating coverage that people expect to be there in the tragic event of limb loss,” said Morgan Sheets of the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA).
But without legislation to ensure coverage, many insurers are curtailing, or even eliminating coverage that people expect to be there in the tragic event of limb loss.
On hand for the press conference were
three amputees from Central Pennsylvania, including Sean Brame,
a fifth-grader from
“This legislation would have a tremendous impact on young people like Sean who, as they grow into adulthood, will need more than one prosthetic,” O’Neill said. “There must be fairness in the law to allow for amputees to live a fulfilling quality of life.”
The legislation, which has 50 cosponsors from both
Republican and Democrat sides, has been referred to the House Insurance
Committee for review. Six other states –
Rep. Bernie O’Neill
Contact: Jennifer Algoe Keaton
House Republican Public Relations
Member site: RepONeill.com
April 24, 2007
On April 24, 2007, several dozen
amputees and their families joined Rep. Bernie O’Neill (R-Bucks) and the
Amputee Coalition of America to rally support at the Capitol for legislation
removing limits in health care insurance coverage for prosthetic devices.
Listed below are pictures from the event. Please click here for further
information on this rally.
For a real treat, copy and paste Almasalsera.wmv into your Browser Bar at the top and click on GO. Then view the video.
Thank you to Mrs. Jan Zink, and her South Middleton High School Life Skills Class for putting our Newsletter together.