The Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC) has formally endorsed the Lymphedema Treatment Act (HR 930 / S 497). The Lymphedema Treatment Act is a bill that would expand the definition of Durable Medical Equipment under Medicare Part B to include compression sleeves and bandages, which would allow lymphedema patients to get the medical treatment they need.[View a copy of the bill here].
CLRC offers information and resources to people with cancer, their families, caregivers, and health care professionals, both in California and nationally. Many of our callers are affected by lymphedema.
Lymphedema is a chronic, progressive, incurable condition. Lymphedema affects cancer patients when surgery, radiation, removal of lymph nodes to determine whether cancer has spread, or scar tissue build-up following radiation or surgery causes damage to the lymphatic system. Lymphedema often occurs in breast cancer patients and may also affect individuals with uterine, prostate, vulvar, ovarian, head and neck cancers, lymphoma, or melanoma.
Untreated lymphedema results in the swelling of an arm, leg, or other body part because lymph fluid cannot drain properly. This swelling causes pain and difficulty engaging in the activities of daily life and may result in repeat hospitalizations or total disability. While there is no cure, lymphedema can be treated and managed effectively.[Find out more about lymphedema here].
Compression garments and bandages form a key component of a successful lymphedema treatment regimen and are particularly important for the daily self-care necessary to control swelling and prevent development or worsening of associated health problems. Patients with lymphedema require the use of compression garments and/or bandages throughout the remainder of their lives.
Currently, Medicare does not cover compression garments or bandages. Medicare does cover costly visits to the hospital for systemic infections and other complications due to lymphedema that has not been properly controlled. The cost of compression garments and bandages to control lymphedema is far less than the cost of repeat hospitalizations for untreated lymphedema that has progressed. Expanding the definition of Durable Medical Equipment under Medicare Part B to include lymphedema garments and bandages would help alleviate, not add to, the Medicare budget and eliminate unnecessary pain and suffering for millions of Medicare beneficiaries.
This important legislation would ensure that lymphedema patients who rely on Medicare can get the help they need to manage their conditions, alleviate pain, and continue as contributing members of society. The CLRC strongly supports the Lymphedema Treatment Act and has offered its formal endorsement of the bill.
Find out how you can help: http://lymphedematreatmentact.org/
For more information about the bill: http://lymphedematreatmentact.org/about-the-bill/