More MS news articles for July 2001

11th Anniversary of ADA

AdvaMed, Lawmakers, Disability Community Celebrate 11th Anniversary of ADA; Medicare Reform Bill to Improve Access

http://www.usnewswire.com/topnews/Current_Releases/0726-114.html

U.S. Newswire
26 Jul 12:08

WASHINGTON, July 26 /U.S. Newswire/ -- AdvaMed, the Advanced Medical Technology Association, joined with lawmakers and disability rights advocates today on Capitol Hill to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and hail the announcement of soon-to-be-introduced Medicare reform legislation that will increase access to medical and assistive technologies for people with disabilities.

"Just as the ADA helped knock down many of the institutional and legal barriers that once prevented Americans with disabilities from fully participating in society and the workforce, medical technology can help people realize all their potential," said AdvaMed President Pamela G. Bailey. "The challenge for our government is to ensure that bureaucratic policies don't preclude people from reaping the lifesaving and life-enhancing benefits of medical technology."

The bipartisan legislation, which will be introduced by Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN) and Rep. Karen Thurman (D-FL) entitled The Medicare Innovation Responsiveness Act of 2001, will help eliminate the delays of the 15 months to five years and longer that people with disabilities and seniors face gaining access to the latest, FDA-approved medical advances by reforming the program's coverage, coding and payment processes. These technologies help reduce the effects of many significant disabilities, including Parkinson's Disease, Epilepsy, hearing loss, and spinal cord injury.

"This bill builds upon the legislative successes of the last two years in improving the way Medicare offers new medical and assistive technologies to the 39 million seniors and people with disabilities who rely on it for quality care," said Bailey. "We implore Congress and the Administration to act quickly and pass this needed legislation."

Advances in medical technology have helped fuel a 2.6 percent annual decline in disability among people aged 65 years and older, according to a recent study by Duke University Researcher Kenneth Manton. Bailey noted this decline will save the Medicare program billions of dollars and significantly offset the effects of aging baby boomer population.

"The evidence is clear that medical technology is enabling people to lead more active, productive lives, and research is now illustrating the positive effect it can have on reducing overall disability and keeping health care costs in check," said Bailey. "The tragedy is that Medicare and many private insurers fail to consider these many long-term benefits, when they make decisions about new treatments and services."

Bailey cited the potential Medicare payment cuts of 50 percent to 70 percent for new technologies used in the hospital outpatient setting as one example where access to lifesaving and life-improving medical technologies could be threatened. These cuts could have a staggering effect on people with disabilities. For instance, people with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and spinal cord injury could see their access limited to a breakthrough implantable pain management system.

"If Medicare implements these drastic cuts in payment, it will discourage providers from using many innovative technologies and procedures that enable people with disabilities and other patients to avoid overnight hospital stays and receive treatment in lower-cost outpatient facilities," Bailey said.

To focus attention on this concern and others within the Medicare system that affect the way technologies become available to beneficiaries, AdvaMed and leading disability rights advocacy organizations issued a Resolution calling on lawmakers and health policymakers to work together to maximize access to medical and assistive technologies.

According to Bailey, the Resolution is consistent with the themes of President Bush's New Freedom Initiative, which calls for the removal of barriers to equality for people with disabilities who are "denied the tools they need to fully access their communities."

She said that it also is in keeping with his Medicare Reform Principles, where the President called for streamlining Medicare's processes "to ensure that the next generation of medical technology is readily available" to beneficiaries.

The 11th Anniversary Celebration and Assistive Technology Exposition was co-sponsored by the following organizations: Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities; National Council on Independent Living; NISH; Alliance for Aging Research; Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund; National Organization on Disability, Paralyzed Veterans of America; American Association of People with Disabilities; National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems; and National Parent Network on Disabilities.

For more information on the celebration event or the latest medical and assistive technologies, please visit:
http://www.advamed.org/publicdocs/ada_72601.html.

AdvaMed, the Advanced Medical Technology Association, represents more than 1,100 innovators and manufacturers of medical devices, diagnostic products and medical information systems. Our members produce nearly 90 percent of the $71 billion health care technology products consumed annually in the United States, and nearly 50 percent of $169 billion purchased around the world annually.

To: National Desk, Health Reporter
Contact: Jeff Ezell, 202-434-7243, jezell@AdvaMed.org,
Mary Plock, 202-434-7240, mplock@AdvaMed.org,
both of AdvaMed

Copyright 2001, U.S. Newswire