The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association has announced the launch of the Coalition to Walk and Run Again that will aid victims of the Boston bombings.
The AOPA Coalition, which was established with the assistance of the Amputee Coalition and the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics, intends to provide coverage for prosthetic and orthotic care for uninsured or underinsured victims of the Boston bombings that occurred on April 15.
“Our goal here as the makers of artificial limbs is to extend compassionate aid to the victims of the Boston terror attacks,” Tom Fise, JD, executive director of AOPA, stated during a press conference April 30. “We want to ensure that in the midst of this horrific tragedy, these individuals are not further traumatized by the harsh and unreasonable limits that are present in all too many health insurance policies today in the United States. As an industry, we would not want to see these people victimized twice.”
The Coalition aims to cover the cost of a patient’s initial prosthesis, as well as any other related O&P care, with the exclusion of physician and hospital bills.
“The prosthetists and orthotists who provide patient care along with the manufacturers of specialized components used in artificial limbs and custom braces are in a unique position to offer needed assistance,” Charles Dankmeyer, CPO, vice president of AOPA and founder of Dankmeyer Inc. in Linthicum Heights, Md., stated during the press conference.
Patients need only submit a letter from his or her physician stating that the patient was injured in the marathon bombings and his or her insurance coverage will not sufficiently cover the cost of the necessary O&P care. The letter should also include the patient’s specific requirements and geographic location. Once the letter has been received, AOPA will work with its network partners and practitioners to arrange for the necessary care and device delivery.
“We will take the direction from the physician as to what type of prosthesis this patient needs, and we will coordinate with providers to assure that the patient receives that prosthesis,” Fise said. “We will also be coordinating with the component manufacturers who have indicated their willingness to provide the components that the care provider would use in fabricating the unique device for that patient.”
Greig Martino, CP, from United Prosthetics in Massachusetts was also available during the press conference to discuss his experience treating the victims of the bombings.
“I have been contacted by all of the major component manufacturers that are all willing to donate to these victims and help in any way that they can,” Marino stated. “We have the skill and ability to handle these patients, to afford them the componentry that they do need and to see that these patients are returned back to what they would consider normal daily activities.”
Any inquiries regarding the AOPA Coalition should be directed to Stephen Custer at AOPA at firstname.lastname@example.org or (571) 431-0876.