Vascular PRN

Senate Bill Aims to Improve Medicare Coverage for Lymphedema Patients

A bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate would improve Medicare coverage for lymphedema patients.


Tampa, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/19/2016 -- The bill would classify compression therapy equipment as "durable medical devices" and clarify that such treatment is "reasonable and necessary." Compression therapy is gradually becoming more widespread as a preventative treatment for lymphedema and deep vein thrombosis.

Greg Grambor of Tampa, Florida, said the bill is a long-overdue update to Medicare guidelines. Grambor is the president of Vascular PRN, a distributor of pneumatic compression therapy equipment.

"Even with a doctor's prescription, it is very difficult for patients to receive Medicare coverage for the use of these devices," Grambor said. "The doctor must certify that several less costly methods of treatment have been tried and have failed before the patient will receive coverage."

The bill was introduced on Dec. 8, 2015, with bipartisan support from co-sponsoring senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

"Medicare ought to reflect the modern practice of medicine," Senator Grassley said in a statement. "The equipment to treat lymphedema is something doctors recommend and that patients need."

Lymphema is a chronic ailment marked by localized fluid retention and swelling resulting from compromises to the lymphatic system caused by injury, congenital defects, cancer treatments and parasitic infections. Lymphedema is incurable and progressive, but its symptoms are treatable.

Pneumatic compression therapy equipment treats the fluid retention caused by lymphedema by alternating pressure on the patient's affected limb. In the same way, it can enhance blood flow in hospital and nursing home patients, helping to prevent blood clots and pressure sores.

"This legislation would cover this effective treatment method as soon as lymphedema is diagnosed, removing burdensome obstacles to coverage," Grambor added. "This is as it should be in this day and age."

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