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The sisterhood of Mary Walsh Aframe

The sisterhood of Mary Walsh Aframe

Mary Walsh aframeWORCESTER, Mass. – It’s been 12 years since Mary Walsh Aframe first lugged a suitcase full of women’s health products to the office of Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., to shine a spotlight on the lack of Medicare reimbursement for such items, which are often deemed “medically unnecessary.”

Walsh Aframe, who was recently named the 2022 Essentially Women Ruth Addison Award Winner at this year’s Focus Conference, hasn’t let up since, and plans to meet with McGovern soon to seek support for The Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act of 2021, which would provide coverage for custom fabricated breast prostheses. 

“I’ve been in the industry 23 years now and that’s one thing that I can do is try to help push this forward,” said Walsh Aframe, owner and founder of the Women’s Image Center in Worcester, Mass. “It makes a big difference in life when you can get a custom prosthesis and be able to live confidently and live comfortably.”

The House bill, sponsored by Judy Chu, D-Calif, has 17 co-sponsors; the Senate companion bill, S. 2051, co-sponsored by Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Lisa Murkowski, R-Ala., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has yet to pick up additional co-sponsors. 

Walsh Aframe is also a longtime advocate to get Medicare to cover wigs as durable medical equipment. McGovern is one of the lead sponsors on H.R. 5430, a bill to do just that. He introduced similar legislation in 2017.

“We’ve been working on (getting that coverage) that for 16 years,” she said. “We’re hopeful that it will pass because many of the commercial payers cover wigs for women with hair loss. It helps with the woman’s treatment plan – science shows us if you look good, you feel better.”

For Walsh Aframe, advocating on behalf of women’s health is how she gives back, she says.

“At this point, it’s a vocation, not just a job,” she said. “It’s something I do for my sisterhood.”


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