Essentially Women Hits Capitol Hill for Lymphedema

Posted on in HME Government Issues

By: Collin Brecher, VGM Government Relations

This week concluded the annual Lymphedema Lobby Days, which was partnered by VGM’s new Essentially Women division and the Lymphedema Advocacy Group. The group of providers and industry leaders gathered in Washington, D.C., over the week to make the strong case for the Lymphedema Treatment Acts in the House and Senate. Essentially Women’s leaders, Christa Miehe and Nicole Jensen, were accompanied by VGM’s Tom Powers to advocate for these bills.

The Lymphedema Treatment Act has broad bi-partisan support in both chambers of Congress with S.2373, led by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) along with over a dozen bi-partisan co-sponsors, and H.R.1608, led by Rep. David Reichert (R-Wash.), which has over 200 cosponsors.

What this legislation would do is enable Medicare coverage for doctor-prescribed compression therapy supplies, which are the foundation for treating this disease that is very common in breast cancer patients, especially those who have undergone radiation treatment. Currently, Medicare does not cover one of the most critical therapeutic treatments for lymphedema, an incurable disease most commonly developed after radiation and chemotherapy. Lymphedema is a chronic disease that causes an accumulation of fluid and swelling in the lymph nodes or lymphatic vessels, generally occurring in extremities of the body.

The entire group participating in the event and held dozens of congressional meetings with staff and elected officials, including a meeting with Iowa’s freshman senator, Joni Ernst (Rep.). Sen. Ernst was very supportive of the legislation and recognized its importance to set the standard for Medicare and insurance providers to cover these vital treatments. Sen. Ernst also understands the struggles that cancer patients are going through as she is a breast cancer survivor.

Christa, Nikki and Tom were very happy with the dialogue that was started through these meetings, including the visit with Sen. Ernst. “Every office that we had the opportunity to meet with took our issues very seriously,” said Ni asking detailed questions about what challenges that the providers of these garments are facing and how they could be helpful to ensure that patients have access to these therapies,” said Nikki, Membership director of Essentially Women.

We strongly encourage you to visit our VGM Action Center by clicking the banner above, and send a message to your elected officials to act on this urgent issue!