Amputees petition for national change to medical coverage

Medicare drafted changes to patient eligibility last month on July 16. They would set steeper qualifications for people wanting to qualify for medical services or assistive tools. 

Many believe the goal is to save money, but a local group is concerned that if the changes pass, they will impact much more.

Seven years of training and Gene Glastetter knows how to speed Versace through all her obstacles. He says she loves the game of agility, and he loves the sport despite overcoming obstacles himself. Glastetter jokes about people calling him an inspiration because he walks with a prosthetic leg specialized to his needs. He injured his leg in a grain bin accident.

"It locks when I walk, so it doesn’t go out from under me, and then bends," Glastetter explains.

Terri Ross is the president for Paducah’s Coalition for Amputees and an amputee herself. Ross says walking and mobility is a basic human right, and she’s petitioning to fight the Medicare change. She says many people don’t realize the fight many go through for a leg, and she feels the need to speak up.

Ross says without the Medicare funding they have now, many will not be able to afford or even qualify for the technological prosthetics of today. She says the prosthetics will "knock us back to the 70s".

"I don’t want to see someone get a crappy, basic prosthetic leg and stick it in the corner because it hurts to wear it," Ross says.

Ross says she fought to walk and will fight for others to walk, too, by joining other amputee coalitions around the country in a protest in Maryland next week. She says nation-wide, their petition surpassed the 100,000 signatures needed weeks ago.

Ross says the Medicare change would change the prices of prosthetics and other equipment, which would affect private providers as well.

The changes will impact how amputees qualify for different levels of care and prosthetics, as well as home health services. Implementing the changes depends on legislation.

To sign the petition, click here.

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