LAS VEGAS — An initiative created by the Amputee Coalition can give patients in the limb-loss and limb-difference communities a voice in the face of insurance denials and legislative indifference, according to a presentation at American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association 2017 World Congress.
The presenters, Dan Ignaszewski, director of government relations and marketing for the Amputee Coalition; Karen Lundquist, MBC, the Amputee Coalition’s chief communication officer; and Ashlie White, project manager for the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA), said the AMPLIFY Your Voice project was created in reaction to address the many denials “everyday patients” received for “basic essential care.”
“AMPLIFY at its core, is a tool to empower patients to amplify their voice, to truly collect stories, data and information and emphasize the importance of appropriate access to care for people living with limb loss and limb difference,” Ignaszewski said. “So, what we’ve tried to do is create this tool that is centered around empowering individuals to take action in their own individual circumstance, but also allow them to amplify a community voice that can share stories and elevate that discussion to a larger level.”
According to Ignaszewski, another goal of AMPLIFY is to educate patients on how they can better advocate for their interests, as well as the larger community, including insurance companies and elected officials, on the needs of the limb-loss and limb-difference communities.
“What we’re trying to do here is educate people and change some of that conversation, try to get insurance companies to modify their policies and appeals and denial practices, and also work with legislators, regulators and others at the federal and state level to enact policy changes that can ensure that patients have appropriate access to care,” he said.
AMPLIFY uses a website — www.amplifyyourself.org — to allow patients to write directly to their insurers by using a standard letter template that directly targets the specific chief executive or medical director responsible in the patient’s state or regional area. In addition, copies of the letter are automatically sent to the patient’s state and federal legislators.
Other tactics used as part of the program include social media advertising, primarily on Facebook, as well as email and webinar events.
According to Lundquist, the AMPLIFY website receives approximately 70,000 to 80,000 visitors every month. That, along with the targeted social media advertising and survey tool, count among the program’s successes, she said.
“In our own surveys, we asked people who used the tool if it had worked for them and whether they saw it as valuable, and we got high marks for that,” Lundquist said. “More than 90% of the people who used it felt like it was a good resource and a good tool. So, you can give your patients the confidence to also use this tool.”
According to White, the next steps for the program will be to continue to ask people to use the online tool to write to their insurer and legislators to “share their story,” as well as use social media posts and traditional cards and flyers to spread their message.
“This is part of a movement toward a better day,” she said. “We have heard about practices that have iPads set up in the lobby where patients can go to the website and share their stories as these issues come up in real time. This is a program that will work, in my opinion.” – by Jason Laday
Ignaszewski D, et al. AMPLIFY: Using traditional and digital methods to enhance advocacy. Presented at: American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association World Congress; Sept. 6-9, 2017; Las Vegas.
Disclosures: Ignaszewski and Lundquist report employment with the Amputee Coalition. White reports being the project manager for AOPA.