ORLANDO, Fla. — Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) spoke about the importance of practitioner involvement in order to ensure passage of O&P legislation in Congress at the O&P World Congress, here.
Duckworth served in the US Army as a helicopter pilot and lost both of her legs while on duty in Iraq. She is the first female double amputee resulting from a war injury and the first disabled woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives. Among her many platforms, Duckworth is an advocate for O&P fairness legislation.
“It’s so critical for me to play a role, especially with my colleagues who don’t understand,” Duckworth said. “I don’t think this is something that anyone understands unless you have a need for these services. Unless you have a family who needs this, you don’t get. You don’t understand why prostheses are such a deeply personal fit.”
Duckworth stressed the importance of practitioner involvement for the passage of O&P legislation. She encouraged practitioners to write letters to her, as well as a practitioner’s local Congressional representative, and to be specific in those letters about what legislation needs to be passed.
“I need you to not let me off the hook. I need you to not let my colleagues off the hook,” Duckworth said. “You have to be a loud squeaky wheel so we can focus on you. And I challenge you to do that.”
Duckworth also told practitioners to not be afraid to write follow-up letters and questions about why legislation has not been passed yet.
“It’s worth the time, because we work for you. We are public servants, and the core part of that phrase is servants,” Duckworth said. “We are your servants in Washington, and we should be held accountable by the people that we serve.
“We are not going to let this fail,” Duckworth added.
For more information:
Duckworth T. Presented at: O&P World Congress. Sept. 18-21, 2013. Orlando, Fla.
Disclosure: Duckworth has no relevant financial disclosures.