Elaine Eigeman, Lymphedema Treatment Act Updates

Elaine Eigeman, LAG Board Chair and Patient Advocate joins the Mavens today to speak about the latest info on the Lymphedema Treatment Act, and what to expect with the new Congress. Elaine discusses the coverage expected in the bill, what needs to happen with the new lawmakers in office, and some stories from her previous experience with advocacy.

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The Lymphedema Treatment Act

HeatherFergusonThe Lymphedema Treatment Act is a federal bill that aims to improve insurance coverage for the medically necessary, doctor-prescribed compression supplies that are the cornerstone of lymphedema treatment. Currently, Medicare, and consequently many other policies, do not cover this critical components of lymphedema treatment.

The Lymphedema Treatment Act will improve coverage for the treatment of lymphedema from any cause by amending Medicare statute to allow for coverage of compression supplies. Although this legislation relates specifically to a change in Medicare law, it would set a precedent for Medicaid and private insurers to follow.

Specific goals of the Lymphedema Treatment Act are:

  • to provide comprehensive lymphedema treatment coverage, according to current  medical treatment standards;
  • to enable patient self-treatment plan adherence by providing necessary medical supplies for use at home, as prescribed for each patient (including gradient compression garments, bandages, and other compression devices);
  • to reduce the total healthcare costs associated with this disease by decreasing the incidence of complications, co-morbidities and disabilities resulting from this medical condition.

This patient-driven, grassroots effort is led by the Lymphedema Advocacy Group. Please visit their website at LymphedemaTreatmentAct.org to ask your members of Congress to cosponsor this bill, and find other ways to get involved. You can make a difference!

The Lymphedema Advocacy Group is an all-volunteer organization of patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals and industry partners, founded in 2010 by Heather Ferguson.  Her relationship with lymphedema began with the birth of her twin boys, Devdan and Dylan, in September of 2006. Dylan was born with primary lymphedema.

Ms. Ferguson’s desire to advocate on behalf of lymphedema patients took root when she learned of the deficiencies in insurance coverage for compression supplies. A 2015 Washington Post story chronicled the struggle her family went through to obtain a proper diagnosis and treatment for Dylan.

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