GAO to Evaluate Barriers for Assistive Technologies
Back in 2020, we wrote about the introduction of the Access to Assistive Technology and Devices for Americans Study Act, a.k.a. the Triple A Study Act by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn). It’s been almost two years, and some of you may be wondering what has happened since then.
In February, Sens. Duckworth and Blackburn, along with U.S. Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-Ky) and G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) has sent a bipartisan and bicameral letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking to evaluate the appropriate coverage of assistive devices provided to patients with limb loss or limb differences.
In the formal request, the sponsors wrote: “Two million Americans currently live with limb loss or limb difference. Two-thirds of these Americans will not receive a prosthetic device, and there is a lack of information to explain why such a disparity exists. Healthcare payers such as the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Veterans Health Administration, and private insurers will benefit from the additional research into limb loss and limb difference that this [report] would provide. This will be used to inform future legislation.”
GAO accepted the request, and Congress expects a final report by July 1, 2023. GAO will analyze data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicare, as well as other sources. Among the factors GAO representatives will investigate include amputees’ workforce participation and their overall health indicators, rehabilitation and physical therapy availability, insurance denial pattern, and the quality and availability of resources to educate patients experiencing limb loss.
No one has opposed the Triple A Study Act. In fact, it is supported by Republicans and Democrats, military veterans, patients experiencing limb loss and limb differences, prosthetists, and limb loss advocates. However, it is believed that political gridlock keeps it from getting passed, despite the probability of reducing government spending over time.Here’s to hoping that the bill will be passed soon.