Researchers, former senator join fight
WASHINGTON – Nine leading U.S. researchers and a former U.S. senator have put pen to paper in the fight against proposed changes to coverage for lower limb prostheses. The work of the researchers was used by Medicare to back up its decision to make the changes. “We would like to go on record as stating that the works referenced do not support any of the changes outlined in the proposal,” they wrote in a letter to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. “We are extremely concerned that the draft rule was not based at all on the current literature and science associated with the provision of prosthetic care.” The researchers go on to say: “We strongly oppose the draft.” The researchers include Steven Gard, Ph.D., executive director of Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center; and Jason Highsmith, associate professor at the School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences at Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida, and president of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists. Former Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., an amputee, wrote in a blog posted to The Hill’s website, that the draft rule should be thrown out. “Instead, Medicare should undertake a real discussion with stakeholder groups to resolve any concerns it may have about the status quo,” he wrote. “Otherwise, this really is a case of the government creating a problem rather than solving it.” Kerrey, who served in the Senate from 1998-2001, was governor of Nebraska from 1983 to 1987. He served as a Navy Seal in the Vietnam War and received the Medal of Honor.