In 2010 I shared My Story in support of The Lymphedema Treatment Act. The bill did not make it through the congressional process at that time and must be re-introduced. I am committed to using my newly acquired advocacy skills to help make this act a LAW.
WHY THIS LEGISLATION IS NEEDED:
- Lymphedema is a non-curable but treatable medical condition that results in an accumulation of lymph fluid swelling in parts of the body where lymphatic vessels and/or lymph nodes are damaged, nonfunctional or inadequate. Lymphedema affects an estimated 5-6 million Americans, with the majority of cases caused by cancer treatment.
- Untreated, or under-treated, lymphedema is progressive and leads to increased morbidity. Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is the gold standard and only known course of treatment for lymphedema. CDT is a multi-modal treatment that is only effective when used in its entirety.
- Medicare currently covers all but the most critical component, the medically necessary compression supplies used daily in lymphedema treatment, citing they do not fit under any existing benefit category. As a result, many patients suffer from recurrent infections, progressive degradation in their condition and eventual disability because they cannot afford the compression supplies required to maintain their condition.
WHAT THIS LEGISLATION WILL DO:
Although this legislation relates specifically to a change in Medicare law, it would set a precedent for Medicaid and private insurers to follow.
Specific goals of the Act are:
- Provide comprehensive lymphedema treatment coverage, according to current medical treatment standards;
- Enable patient self-treatment plan adherence by providing necessary medical supplies for use at home, as prescribed for each patient (including gradient compression garments, bandages, and other compression devices);
- Allow for new treatment modalities to be considered for coverage as they become available and are approved;
- Reduce the total healthcare costs associated with this disease by decreasing the incidence of complications, co-morbidities and disabilities resulting from this medical condition.
In case you need a refresher on how the process works: