ARC ACT AIMS TO FIGHT THE NO. 1 CAUSE OF LIMB LOSS IN THE U.S.
By Ryan Geddie, Government Relations
Vascular disease, which includes peripheral arterial disease (PAD), is the cause of more than 50% of limb loss in the United States. PAD is a crisis, and one that is uniquely close to the limb loss and limb difference community.
In the spirit of overcoming, and to better understand the ways that our community is impacted by and conceives of the challenges posed by peripheral arterial disease, the Amputee Coalition held a PAD listening session, moderated by our manager of public policy, Dante’ Daniel, LP.D. I asked Dr. Daniel about his experience moderating the listening session, what his key takeaways were and about the Amputation Reduction and Compassion (ARC) Act, a piece of legislation designed to fight the epidemic of amputations caused by PAD.
At the Amputee Coalition, we want to understand how people with limb loss and limb difference perceive how PAD is treated by the American healthcare system. Dr. Daniel identified “a lack of continuity of care” as a common thread among session participants. This includes a failure to be connected to appropriate vascular physicians for screening, slow diagnosis, a lack of mental healthcare and “speedy amputations with no second opinion.”
Although this is only a selection of the problems presented by listening session attendees, it’s clear that a lack of continuity of care has not instilled confidence in members of the limb loss and limb difference community that they will receive appropriate treatment for PAD. As Dr. Daniel said, “There appears to be a systematic gap between the actual experience of the patient and the actual delivery of care from diagnosis to post-amputation.”
Recognizing that action needs to be taken, both to prevent unnecessary amputations and to improve the well-being of people with limb loss and limb difference, as well as people with peripheral arterial disease, the Amputee Coalition supports the ARC Act. This legislation endeavors to “reduce the number of people who experience an untimely amputation and/or death due to PAD.” It aims to require that “at-risk patients receive an annual $80-$100 PAD screening covered by health insurance,” which would help prevent “delayed diagnoses, increase early detections, and increase proactive medical treatment.”
The throughline of all the different provisions of the ARC Act is creating a more robust continuity of care for people with PAD. The legislation would require $6 million to develop a pilot program that would implement and monitor evidence-based policies and strategies for early detection, proper intervention and improved coordination among healthcare professionals of different specialties as it relates to people with PAD.
Too often, the healthcare system can be nearly impossible to navigate. This is especially true for people who are facing a life-changing or potentially life-threatening condition such as peripheral arterial disease. This is why legislation like the ARC Act, which aims to make the healthcare system more navigable and effective, is important to our community.
As Dr. Daniel said, “No legislation is perfect, but ultimately we feel this legislation is well intended across multiple perspectives such as patient care, education and costs.” It also demonstrates why your voice matters as a community member or as someone who cares about the issues relevant to the limb loss and limb difference community.
Without the voices of passionate individuals making their opinions known, both to us at the Amputee Coalition and to your legislators, making change happen is incredibly difficult. It’s because of community members entering the conversation around peripheral arterial disease through surveys and through the listening session that the Amputee Coalition committed to the ARC Act.
Your voice matters, and we want you to use it! PAD, being the leading cause of amputation, affects many members of our community. By sharing your story, getting involved and speaking up for causes you believe in, you are advocating for yourself and the entire limb loss and limb difference community. You can get involved in your local community through support groups, which you can find through the Amputee Coalition website.
We also encourage you to become involved with the advocacy community online, joining the conversation and providing your input about issues facing the limb loss and limb difference community on AC Connect.
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