Butterfield introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Require Study on Coverage for Amputee Services
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) with Congressman Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) with Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced a bill to require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study coverage for services related to the amputation of a limb. The bill directs the GAO to identify barriers to care, gaps in assessments and device prescriptions, and performance measures for timely coverage. It will also compare coverage, prevention, and return-to-work rates from the Medicare program, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the commercial health insurance market to provide credible, actionable data for policymakers to make informed decisions that will improve the lives of amputees.
Despite recent advances in science and medical treatment in the United States of America, the rate of amputations has increased by 50% over the past decade, most of which occur in low-income and underserved communities,” said Congressman Butterfield. “It is imperative that the gaps and disparities in services rendered for amputees are studied and addressed in order to improve health equity and protect the quality of life for so many in need. I am proud to introduce this vital piece of bipartisan, bicameral legislation with my colleagues Representative Guthrie and Senators Blackburn and Duckworth. This important bill will improve the data available to Congress so we can best support the needs of amputees and help prevent limb loss.”
“In Kentucky alone, there are more than 2,000 amputation procedures each year,” said Congressman Guthrie. “Despite the number of Americans with limb loss, there needs to be a better understanding on barriers to care and factors that impact patient outcomes. This bipartisan and bicameral bill would result in a GAO study to examine these issues with amputation and limb health care services. Information from this study could be used to help develop policy and establish best practices to reduce health care disparities and ensure that all patients are receiving quality care. I’m pleased to join Representative Butterfield, Senator Blackburn, and Senator Duckworth in reintroducing this bill with the goal of improving the quality of life of patients and preventing limb loss.”
“Americans with limb loss and limb difference face unique challenges in accessing optimal assistive technologies that could greatly enhance quality of life and strengthen independence,” said Senator Duckworth. “This bipartisan bill I’m re-introducing with Senator Blackburn and Representative Butterfield would make sure Congress receives a rigorous review of current practices as well as a set of recommendations on how we can improve patient access to the most effective assistive technologies, particularly prosthetic devices.”
“Americans living with limb loss and limb differences should have access to the appropriate prosthetics,” said Senator Blackburn. “We need a better understanding of how many Americans lack access to prosthetics and how it affects their return to the workforce. I’m glad to have Senator Duckworth along with Representatives Butterfield and Guthrie join me in introducing this bipartisan legislation.”
Two-thirds of the 2.1 million Americans living with limb loss or limb difference never receive a prosthetic device, and little analysis exists to explain how those decisions are made or if individuals are getting the access to care they need. The information that does exist is difficult to compare across providers.