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Medicare drops proposed change in coverage for amputees

Medicare drops proposed change in coverage for amputees
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Medicare drops proposed change in coverage for amputees

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Posted: Monday, November 2, 2015 5:15 pm

Medicare announced Monday that it would abandon a proposed rule that would have stripped amputees of their high-tech legs.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid had proposed curtailing coverage for modern-day legs, knees, ankles and feet, a move that opponents said essentially would have made people hobble on wooden legs.

Roanoke-area residents were among those protesting the rule. In August, Doug Call, president of Virginia Prosthetics and Orthotics, took a busload of 20 people who walk because of modern technology to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hearing. More than 110,000 signatures across the country were collected on an online petition.

“Both CMS and its contractors have heard your concerns about access to prostheses for Medicare beneficiaries,” the agency said in a statement that backed away from the rule change.

Instead, CMS will convene a work group in 2016 of clinicians, researchers, policy specialists and patient advocates from different federal agencies. The group will be tasked with reviewing clinical evidence and defining best practices in the care of Medicare patients who require lower limbs.

The group may also make other recommendations to inform CMS about patient function and quality of life.

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