Reps. Donald Payne, Jr., Bobby Rush and Ruben Gallego introduce Amputation Reduction and Compassion (ARC) Act to expand coverage for PAD screening and intervention
Washington, D.C. –– The CardioVascular Coalition (CVC) – a consortium of physicians, care providers, advocates, and manufacturers working to improve awareness and prevention of peripheral artery disease (PAD) – today commended Reps. Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Bobby Rush (IL-1) and Ruben Gallego (AZ-7) for introducing a bill to reduce amputations while increasing education and testing for PAD. If passed, the Amputation Reduction and Compassion (ARC) Act (H.R. 8615) would provide coverage of PAD screening for at-risk beneficiaries under the Medicare and Medicaid programs without the imposition of cost-sharing requirements.
By expanding coverage for PAD screening such as the ankle-brachial index test for at-risk beneficiaries, the bill would help prevent vulnerable individuals from developing serious complications from PAD, which can lead to lower limb amputation. While an estimated 20 million Americans have PAD, many are unaware of the serious risks of the disease and are not encouraged to undergo preventative tests that could improve patient outcomes and reduce costs to the healthcare system. Unfortunately, an estimated 200,000 patients – a disproportionate number of whom are minorities – suffer avoidable amputations every year as a result of PAD.
The bill would prohibit the use of amputation without the completion of arterial testing to determine if alternative interventions could be applied. It would also establish a PAD education program to support, develop, and implement educational initiatives that inform health care professionals and the public about the existence of peripheral artery disease and methods to reduce amputations, particularly with respect to at-risk populations, such as racial and ethnic minorities who are more likely to face non-traumatic amputation than whites.
“By expanding coverage for simple, non-invasive screening tests, we have the power to help thousands of Americans avoid unnecessary amputations every year,” said Dr. Jeffrey Carr co-founder of the Outpatient Endovascular and Interventional Society (OEIS) and a member of the CVC. “We commend Reps. Payne, Rush and Gallego for introducing his critical legislation, which will go a long way toward saving lives and reducing racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. With these goals in mind, we urge Congress to quickly pass the ARC Act.”
According to the Dartmouth Atlas, amputation risks for African Americans living with diabetes are as much as four times higher than the national average. Data analyses have similarly found that Native Americans are more than twice as likely to be subjected to amputation and Hispanics are up to 75 percent more likely to have an amputation.
“We look forward to working collaboratively with Reps. Payne, Rush and Gallego, and advocates across our profession, to build support for this pro-patient legislation, which is a giant step forward for the patients we serve and others at risk for PAD,” added Carr.