Senator Duckworth Meets with Breast Cancer Survivors

Lead sponsor of Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act engages with survivors at Chicago provider of custom breast prostheses.

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), visited Second Act Mastectomy Boutique in Chicago, where she heard personal stories from breast cancer survivors.

Duckworth launched S.562, the Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act, into the Senate with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). The bill aims to ensure breast cancer patients who have experienced a mastectomy can access custom breast prosthetics under Medicare.

The breast cancer survivors at Second Act related their experiences getting access to custom breast prostheses through private payers, or getting denied access either through the VA, Medicare, or private payers that follow Medicare guidelines. They also conveyed the need for mastectomy patients to have access to custom breast prostheses because the contours of their bodies after surgery do not comfort to off-the-shelf items.

Pattie Cagney Sheehan, owner of Second Act and a Certified Mastectomy Fitter, showed Sen. Duckworth the differences in construction and weight between off-the-shelf items and custom breast prostheses, as well as the difference in reimbursement rates.

Retired Lt. Col. Jennifer Pritzker opened the event, stating that breast cancer survivors need prosthetics and related products that restore their self-confidence and let them feel the way they want to feel.

“After all,” she said, “breasts are essential to a woman’s body, identity and function, so why should breast prosthetics be treated any differently than a loss of an arm or a leg? This legislation will go a long way in helping women with their breast cancer recovery and getting back to living their full lives.”

Also in attendance were Nikki Jensen and Tom Powers from the VGM division Essentially Women, which has been heavily involved in advancing the issue of funding for custom breast prostheses. Jensen called the visit a “wonderful opportunity for Senator Duckworth to hear directly from constituents on the importance and impact of passing this legislation for breast cancer survivors.”

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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