There are currently 2.1 million Americans experiencing limb loss and limb difference, and each year 185,000 undergo amputation surgery. However, only 30% to 35% receive a prosthetic device through the Veterans Health Administration.
To bridge the gap in the numbers, Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) introduced the Access to Assistive Technology and Devices for Americans Study Act in July 2020. Also known as the “Triple A” Study Act, the bill would require the Government Accountability Office to study the current state of access to prosthetics after the amputation of a limb.
Through the bill, both senators aim to give officials a holistic understanding of how many Americans have access to prostheses. Passing this legislation will provide the missing data that will help officials better understand the obstacles patients face when seeking to acquire a prosthesis.
Furthermore, this legislation will assess the appropriate coverage of assistive devices provided to patients who live with limb loss. This assessment also includes affordability; evaluation and guidelines for assistive device determination; matching specific devices with the individual beneficiary; rehabilitation services to support adjustment to the amputee life; timelines for assessment for surgery and evaluation of assistive devices; and timely access to care.
According to data from Amputee Coalition of America, among those living with limb loss in the U.S., 54% underwent amputation surgery due to vascular disease, 45% are due to trauma, and less than 2% are due to cancer. The data set also shows that black Americans are up to four times likely to have an amputation than white or Asian Americans.What do you think of this bill?