Congressman Larry Kissell (NC-08) has reintroduced legislation to require that Medicare offer fair treatment coverage for Americans afflicted with primary and secondary lymphedema. The Lymphedema Diagnosis and Treatment Cost Saving Act of 2011 is designed to improve patient care and reduce costs associated with complications related to lymphedema.
"This legislation will help recognize the growing problems faced by those who suffer from this unfortunate condition and are fighting to seek affordable and effective care," said Kissell. "Currently, Medicare does not provide adequate coverage for the proven preventative treatment that sufferers need. With the help of this legislation, we will see lower costs for patients and less burdens on our health care professionals to provide catastrophic care for those who should be able to prevent worsened conditions and improve their lives."
Lymphedema, also known as lymphatic obstruction, is a condition of localized fluid retention and tissue swelling caused by a compromised lymphatic system.
Kissell introduced similar legislation last Congress after meeting Heather Ferguson, a constituent whose son, Dylan, suffers from primary lymphedema. Ferguson, a Charlotte resident, has been active in working to raise awareness of the disease and to help alleviate the troubles lymphedema sufferers have getting insurance to cover treatment. Ferguson worked with North Carolina Representative Tricia Cotham to get legislation through the North Carolina General Assembly to help patients in the state, but Kissell's bill will help all patients suffering from lymphedema nationwide.
"I was so moved by Heather's story and all she has gone through to make sure that her son receives the important treatment he needs," added Kissell. "Her absolute dedication to helping others in similar situations has inspired me to help her in her quest to make sure lymphedema patients have an opportunity to best receive affordable and effective treatment. This preventative treatment will help improve lives for so many people throughout this country, and I'm happy to be a part of making this come true."
Approximately five million Americans suffer from lymphedema, with most of them acquiring the disease from cancer treatment, most often the treatment of breast cancer, that can damage and even remove lymph nodes. Not all components of Lymphedema treatment fall under the categories for which Medicare typically provide coverage. This legislation will help to further cover and better direct treatment methods within Medicare for lymphedema sufferers.