May 2006 — A Publication of the Amputee Coalition of America Getting to the Core of the Problem: An APPLL Update by Morgan Sheets, National Campaign Director for APPLL In This Issue Getting to the Core of the Problem: An APPLL Update Page 1 ACA’s Region A Hosts Advocacy & Empowerment Weekend Page 2 ACA Featured on National Public Radio Page 3 VICTORY: ACA Helps Defeat Federal Attack on Healthcare Coverage Page 3 In the News Page 4 Female Combat Amputee Wins Illinois Primary Page 4 Victories for California’s Assembly Bill 2012 Page 4 ACA Heading to Minnesota Page 4 As many legislative sessions wrap up business for this year, we have some great progress to celebrate. Bills were introduced throughout the country, and we had hearings on prosthetic parity in over a half-dozen states. A great foundation has been set for the 2007 legislative year and we are already getting prepared. • • • • We are opening an office in downtown Washington, D.C., and hiring a second staff person to assist with the campaign. We have scheduled five meetings in May and June to help organize the efforts for parity in New York and Pennsylvania. We are working with activists in several other states, including our home state of Tennessee, to coordinate additional meetings. We are meeting with lobbyists all over the country to help prepare for the introduction of new bills in a number of states, including Texas and Florida. We are launching an online Action Center this summer. The Action Center will feature up-to-date information, online campaigns, and step-by-step tools. We are also distributing an updated and enhanced prosthetic parity organizing kit. • • We have done interviews with reporters from various media outlets around the country, including the Worcester Telegram & Gazette in Massachusetts, The Press-Enterprise in California, and NPR’s Marketplace in Washington, D.C. We are presenting two different workshops at the upcoming ACA Annual Educational Conference & Exposition. We will also offer opportunities for activists to sign up to meet with the APPLL campaign staff for consultation. We are doing everything we can to get the word out there and continue to build an even stronger and farther-reaching parity campaign. We have really seen some great progress over the past few months. Together, we will make prosthetic parity a reality! • See page 2 for our story on the Region A Advocacy & Empowerment Weekend ©2006 Amputee Coalition of America. All rights reserved. Toll-free: 888/AMP-KNOW • www.amputee-coalition.org This publication is funded by the ACA and is not supported with CDC grant funding Page 2 ACA’s Region A Hosts Advocacy & Empowerment Weekend ACA members, support group leaders, peer visitors and prosthetic providers from ACA’s Region A – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island – gathered for two days of education, networking and sharing during the weekend of April 22 and 23 in Clinton, Massachusetts. The weekend opened with a training seminar for new peer visitors. Our peer visitation program is a network of experienced, trained amputees who provide emotional and informational support to new amputees and their families. Peers make contact through personal visitation, when possible, or by phone, e-mail, fax, or surface mail. Trained peers help new amputees jumpstart their transition to a new life by sharing information, serving as models of success, and offering understanding and support. On Sunday, the newly trained members of our peer network joined other activists to learn more about the ACA’s campaign for prosthetic parity – the Action Plan for People with Limb Loss (APPLL). ACA President and CEO Paddy Rossbach opened the day by giving participants the history and background of the APPLL campaign. As more and more people are experiencing difficulty in getting appropriate prosthetic coverage, the ACA has been working to set up the systems, develop the materials, and hire the staff to move forward with the action plan. The second day also included a presentation on the process, resources and materials needed to form a state campaign for prosthetic parity. This briefing was conducted by Morgan Sheets, national campaign director for APPLL. Every campaign needs a plan, a budget and people to run it. Sheets offered participants some tips for conducting an effective organizing effort and highlighted some of the resources that that ACA is offering to help state campaigns. This session inspired a rousing discussion about how to enhance collaboration between the states and the national campaign. The ACA has already seen a great deal of momentum in local parity efforts coming out of this training series. We are looking to use the Region A training as a pilot for other regions. Getting Involved Contact the ACA today to get involved in the fight for prosthetic parity in your state! APPLL@amputee-coalition.org or 202/302-4373 ©2006 Amputee Coalition of America. All rights reserved. Toll-free: 888/AMP-KNOW • www.amputee-coalition.org This publication is funded by the ACA and is not supported with CDC grant funding Page 3 ACA Featured on National Public Radio The ACA has been working with National Public Radio (NPR) reporter Ann Hepperman on a Marketplace piece about the need for prosthetic parity and the disparity between military and civilian care. You can hear or read the story, titled “Civilian amputees find it hard to get their C-legs,” on the Marketplace Web site at http://marketplace.publicradio.org/ shows/2006/04/25/PM200604256.html “The government spends millions of dollars in prosthetics technology. Soldiers are even returning to active duty with prosthetic legs. But civilian amputees are getting far different standards of care.” Kai Ryssdal VICTORY: ACA Helps Defeat Federal Attack on Healthcare Coverage The ACA is excited to celebrate the defeat of S. 1955, the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act of 2005. S. 1955 was opposed by activists, doctors and healthcare organizations all over the country, and we worked hard to stop this very dangerous attack on healthcare coverage. This legislation would have allowed companies to circumvent state coverage mandates, including parity bills that ensure coverage for the prosthetic limbs that amputees need to lead productive, independent lives. And it was not just prosthetic parity that was at stake. Many other insurance benefit requirements would have also been negatively impacted by this bill. Cancer screenings, diabetes supplies and rehabilitation are just some of the vital benefits that would have suffered. In addition to destroying benefit requirements, S. 1955 would have allowed insurers to bypass state laws on premium limitations based on categories such as health status, age and gender. This means that state laws aimed at making healthcare more affordable for specific groups such as the elderly or people with disabilities – those with ongoing health needs – would have been overridden. Much of the coverage about this bill has focused on the purported benefit to small businesses. The sponsors claimed that S. 1955 would make healthcare more affordable. Unfortunately, it not only failed at that task but also made existing access and cost problems worse. It would have, in fact, foiled years of efforts at the state level to ensure that patients have the health coverage they need. The Senate started debate on this bill at the beginning of May. On May 11, the cloture vote on it failed by a vote of 55‐43. A vote of 60 was needed to pass. The bill is, therefore, officially dead. The ACA will, however, continue to monitor this dangerous legislation and to work for legislation that truly improves access to quality healthcare. Find out how your senator voted on S. 1955: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/ roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00119 published a great article on April 18 about women combat amputees. Check out “Limbs Lost to Enemy Fire, Women Forge a New Reality” on our state parity blog (http://acaparity.blogspot.com) or at washingtonpost.com. IN THE NEWS—The Washington Post This past March, Tammy Duckworth narrowly won the Democratic nomination for the 6th District Illinois House seat occupied by Rep. Henry Hyde, who is retiring after 32 years in office. Duckworth, a former Army helicopter pilot, lost both of her legs in a grenade attack in Iraq in 2004. She is a woman of incredible integrity and accomplishment. Female Combat Amputee Wins Illinois Primary Victories for California’s Assembly Bill 2012 The California Orthotics & Prosthetics Association (COPA) has been working to pass legislation to create coverage equity for O&P patients. California’s parity bill, Assembly Bill 2012, has unanimously passed the Assembly Health Committee, the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, and the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The bill is moving full speed ahead. The many people who have supported the bill with letters and calls have definitely made a difference! This bill would be a huge step forward by requiring all O&P coverage offered to Californians to cover prescribed items without adding or altering co-pays and caps in ways that are inconsistent with other benefits covered by the plan. Congratulations to COPA and the many activists who have worked so hard in California! ACA Heading to Minnesota: 2006 Annual Conference Just Around the Corner The ACA’s Annual Conference & Exposition begins June 15 with the opening ceremonies and an entire day of exhibits and technology information. Over 700 amputees, their families and healthcare providers will gather to see what’s happening in the world of prosthetics, to share your needs with the developers of new technology, and to gather important information about services that can improve your life. Meet others who share your challenges in a fun and safe environment! Discover the fun, exciting and educational events and services available this year! The 2006 program will include many standard sessions plus new educational opportunities, including: ACA Annual Educational Conference & Exposition June 15-17, 2006 · Minneapolis, Minnesota Sheraton Bloomington Hotel To find out more or to register: http://www.amputee-coalition.org Call now to received the discounted hotel rate. The deadline is May 20 or until the available rooms are filled. Conference pre-registration ends June 8. • • • • Upper-extremity sessions Travel for people with special needs Dealing with depression and adjustment Expanded fitness opportunities For more information about the conference, please call Élan Young toll-free at 1-888/267-5669 ext. 8102, visit the Web site at www.amputee-coalition.org, or e-mail email@example.com. Look for the next issue of the APPLL Core: Access to Care newsletter in August!