Saturday, March 7, 2015

Prosthetics and Chair Pimps

I thought I would try something different and discuss the positive nature of humanity. 

Imagine this, some people noticed a medical issue impacting children and they invented something useful.

Prosthetics legs made by James Gillingham, a boot maker, in England.

CO-2 powered legs for children born with birth defects from Thalidomide.

Recall this post:
Photos pre and post of an awesome dad giving his kid some panache.

Well, I wasn’t the only one who thought this was brilliant!

2-year-old Logan’s prosthetic leg after tattoo artist Michael Curatello made some improvements.

3D printing has been a fantastic invention for children’s prosthetics. e-NABLE started with a group of people who owned 3D printers and wanted to do something beneficial. (Thank God there are still some people who think like that.) 

The prosthetic is relatively inexpensive, lightweight and easy to repair. They can be shipped to kids without the need for coming to a facility for a fitting. I know! Genius!

Aaron Brown added awesome Wolverine blades made from flexible plastic and attached with Velcro.

There is a 3D exoskeleton light enough that little kids can use it and inexpensive enough that buying larger exoskeletons is affordable.  This little girl calls them her “magic arms.”

The last one is absolutely genius!!!

So here is what I want to point out. (You knew I was not capable of a completely happy post.) 

Approximately $100 Billion is spent on durable medical equipment in the US each year.   

Remember the Hoveround? The motorized chair? 

There were several years where the chair pimps would hit the retirement communities and bilk Medicare out of an incredible amount of money.  The Jazzy type scooters were also being peddled and for some reason Medicare didn’t object to purchasing both, even if neither were necessary.

Medicare (recall who funds this program . . . ) has caught on to this error and increased regulations.

However, take a quick look at standard manual wheelchairs. 

Manufacturing cost (per the internet where all things are known) is around $60. From an insurance claim I recently looked at, the supplier billed just under $600. Insurance paid $285. List prices from durable medical supply companies range from $400 to $700 and the VA paid an average of $330 per chair.

Medicare has finally started a competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment.

The photo at the start of the post is from the Sea Turtle triathlon in Florida. A group of Marines helped 11-year-old cancer survivor Ben Balt across the finish line when he couldn't get his prosthetic back on . . .

and they did so without demanding payment or billing his insurance. 


Now Am Found! said...

you're still the bomb

March Matron said...

Thanks so much for reading!! It is great to know this doesn't just go into the internet ether!!