AABCP Establishes Lymphedema Committee

The American Association of Breast Care Professionals (AABCP) announced the establishment of a Lymphedema Advisory Committee.

“Lymphedema is a significant problem post-mastectomy, however most women do not know and are never told anything about this potentially disabling consequence of mastectomy surgery until significant and painful symptoms arise. Add to this an unwillingness by most insurances including Medicare and Medicaid to reimburse for the necessary compression garments used to treat the condition, and Lymphedema becomes a major issue. AABCP has established this committee bringing together the necessary providers, professionals and industry stakeholders in order to focus on the issues and raising social and political awareness,” Rhonda Turner, PhD, and AABCP founder, said in a news release.

When asked how the committee would raise social awareness Turner told O&P Business News, “AABCP intends to develop methods of outreach using traditional education, social and viral media to increase awareness.”

Lymphedema is the uncontrolled, often painful and possibly debilitating condition that develops after breast removal surgery or damage to the lymph nodes. Most often manifesting in the arms, lymphedema can also be found in the shoulders, lower limbs and torso.

“Medicare denies a simple but highly effective compression garment for the treatment of upper limb Lymphedema as ‘not medically necessary and a non-covered item’ however Medicare will pay for more costly Lymphedema treatments,” Turner said. “AABCP, in conjunction with help from the AABCP-PAC, and other organizations now believe that state and federal legislation will be necessary to establish and ensure lymphedema benefits. Much can be done to educate both public and governmental agencies and elected officials as to the true nature of lymphedema and of the need for commercial insurance, Medicare and Medicaid to provide reimbursement for lymphedema treatments including lymphedema compression sleeves.”

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