Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Innovation at its best

Prosthetic got you down? Can't do what you used to do? Then invent one that will and share it with the rest of the world. That's what Brian Bartlett did and when I saw this knee, my jaw dropped. I have been frustrated with not being able to ride with both legs. I just take off the knee component and ride with the socket on and no lower leg. Rides are shorter, slower, less challenging and obviously limited to staying mounted. But...with a knee like this...I see no limitations!

Prosthetic Parity in Illinois!

From the Illinois Government News Network comes this press release:

Governor Quinn Signs Law Improving Orthotic, Prosthetic Insurance Coverage
Requires Health Plan Parity for Policyholders’ Benefits, Conditions

CHICAGO – December 13, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that will benefit thousands of orthotic and prosthetic users in Illinois covered by private health insurance plans. The law ensures that coverage for orthotic and prosthetic devices is the same as nearly all medical or surgical benefits.

“Those covered by orthotic and prosthetic insurance policies will get stronger and better coverage that is in line with other medical and surgical insurance benefits,” said Governor Quinn. “This new law should provide a greater degree of financial protection and security to those who depend upon these important devices and to their families.”

In addition, the new law will give more orthotic and prosthetic users access to new, technologically-advanced and well-fitting devices. There are over 69,000 people in Illinois living with limb loss and a comparable number of people living with disabling diseases such as Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy.

Governor Quinn signed into law HB 2652, which was sponsored by Senator Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago) and Representative Kevin Joyce (D-Worth). The law goes into effect June 1, 2010.

The new law pertains to health insurance plans that contain coverage for orthotics or prosthetics (excluding foot orthotics). It amends the Illinois Insurance Code by adding a section requiring those insurance plans to provide coverage that’s on par with “substantially all medical and surgical benefits” covered in that plan.

The law pertains to health insurance plans covering orthotics or prosthetics that are issued, renewed or delivered six months after June 1, 2010.

Helping to inspire passage of this new law is the family of 14-year-old Allie Johnson, who was born without a right arm. Her insurance company would only cover one prosthetic for her lifetime. Her mother, Laurie -- who for nearly 15 years has worked with Families and Amputees in Motion and is now its president—has spent that last two-and-a-half years working with legislators and other advocates to pass the insurance parity bill.

“This new law is going to help thousands of Illinois citizens. It will improve their lives financially but, just as important, enable many of them to go back to work and contribute to society in general,” said Laurie Johnson.

Other groups and constituents that rallied in support of the Orthotic and Prosthetic Insurance Coverage Parity law include: Illinois Society of Orthotists and Prosthetists; United Healthcare; Tammie Higginbotham; and Douglas Knight, a member of Spina Bifida Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Among those joining Governor Quinn at the bill signing ceremony were: Representative Joyce; Senator Munoz; Representative Jim Durkin (R-Countryside), co-sponsor of the bill; Rep Monique Davis (D-Chicago) co-sponsor of the bill; Laurie and Allie Johnson; and Jim Kaiser, a Member of Families and Amputees in Motion.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dollars and Sense

Here's an interesting viewpoint  that I came across from Hewitt Associates. [Wikinition: Hewitt Associates (NYSE: HEW), based in Lincolnshire, Illinois is a global human resources (HR) outsourcing and consulting firm delivering a complete range of integrated services to help companies manage their total HR and employee costs, enhance HR services, and improve their workforces.]

Since I'm becoming more than a little jaded after a few years of this fight, I didn't expect a favorable view of prosthetic parity from this company but I was pleasantly surprised. They obviously understand the dollars and cents (sense). It's a little outdated in that 17 states have now passed prosthetic parity into law. Nonetheless, it's encouraging that a company of this magnitude, with a primary focus in managing costs, enhancing HR services and improving the workforce, sees the wisdom behind prosthetic parity. Thank you, Hewitt Associates!