Lymphedema is an incurable but treatable medical condition caused by injury, trauma or congenital defects in the lymphatic system.
When the impairment becomes so great that the lymphatic fluid exceeds the lymphatic transport capacity, swelling results as an abnormal amount of protein-rich fluid collects in the tissues of the affected area.
Over time, lymphedema (especially if poorly treated) often results in number of complications including infections, disfigurement, pain, and disability. In fact, it may occasionally prove fatal to its sufferers. But while lymphedema cannot be cured, it can be very effectively managed, thus significantly reducing risk.
The recognized standard of care for lymphedema is Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT). CDT comprises four interacting elements applied in two phases (acute and ongoing): manual lymph drainage (MLD), compression therapy, lymph drainage exercises, and skin care. Each of these four elements are interdependent and imperative to the overall success of treatment however the most basic element is the application of compression to the swollen body part.
Compression is to lymphedema what medication is to many other diseases – indispensible!
It is estimated that two to three million Americans suffer from lymphedema, possibly more. Due to a lack of awareness, information, and education (even within the medical community), lymphedema is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. Delays in diagnosis or treatment can result in rapid and unchecked progression of the disease.
Why This Legislation Is Needed
Currently, Medicare, and consequently many other policies, do not cover one of the critical components of lymphedema treatment, the medically necessary doctor-prescribed compression supplies used daily in lymphedema treatment. As a result, many patients suffer from recurrent infections, progressive degradation in their condition and eventual disability because they cannot afford the compression supplies required to maintain their condition.
Medicare’s failure to cover compression treatment supplies stems from the fact that these items cannot be classified under any existing benefit category in Medicare statute (law). The Center for Medicare Services (CMS) does not have the authority to add or redefine benefit categories, only Congress does, hence the need for this legislation. Please visit and help support:
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