General, Orthotic Prosthetic Continuing Education, Orthotics and Prosthetics State Meetings, US ISPO

2020 US ISPO Pacific Rim Conference

The 2020 US ISPO Pacific Rim Conference was held January 19-22, 2020 at the Sheraton Maui Resort on the beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii.

As part of the proceedings, US ISPO was proud to host the Hawaii movie premiere of “1500 Miles” an award-winning documentary featuring Nicole Ver Kuilen of Forrest Stump.

Red carpet scenes from the Hawaiian premiere of “1500 Miles

Below is the article “Losing limb has even higher cost: Prosthetics and orthotics conference comes to Maui” by KEHAULANI CERIZO of The Maui News.

Nicole Ver Kuilen is shown in a shot from her documentary “1500 Miles,” which made its Hawaii debut Jan. 21 in Kaanapali. Ver Kuilen, who spoke that same day during a prosthetics and orthotics conference in Kaanapali, completed a two-month, 1,500-mile triathlon from Seattle to San Diego in a limb made for walking only. Her goal through her nonprofit, Forrest Stump, is to make prosthetic technology accessible for all amputees. Forrest Stump photos

KAANAPALI — Losing a limb is one thing, but being crippled by insurance systems is quite another, according to athlete, amputee and advocate Nicole Ver Kuilen.

Ver Kuilen, 28, who’s known for completing a 1,500-mile West Coast triathlon a few years ago in an insurance-mandated prosthesis built only for walking, spoke last week in Kaanapali about the lack of access to proper prosthetic devices for the majority of people who need them.

“We’ve reached this point now where amputees are no longer disabled by their condition, but we’re disabled by the policies that are put in place,” she said.

Insurance policies say that having access to something waterproof is a “convenience item,” running is not “medically necessary” and having an ankle that bends is considered “vanity.” Even technology that’s been around for more than 20 years is considered “experimental,” Ver Kuilen said during her talk, “How Do We Expand Access to Prosthetic Technology From the 1 Percent to the 99 Percent?”

Ver Kuilen, who last year won her first paratriathlete national title, was among dozens of speakers at the 2020 U.S. ISPO Pacific Rim Conference for prosthetists and orthotists, technicians, orthopedic surgeons and other medical professionals, held Jan. 19 through Wednesday at Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.

The award-winning short documentary on her ultratriathlon from Seattle to San Diego, “1500 Miles,” had its Hawaii premiere during the conference.

In Hawaii, lower-limb prostheses can range in price from about $9,000 to $65,000, depending on the amputation level and device design, according to Medicare estimates in a Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates of Hawaii report.

“Most private insurance will be reimbursed at a rate below that,” prosthetist and orthotist Cameron Lehrer, Oahu-based Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates of Hawaii owner, said Jan. 21 at the conference.

In fact, Hawaii is the only state where insurances do not cover microprocessor knees, which help mitigate falls for amputees, according to prosthetist Stan Patterson, another Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates of Hawaii owner.

Hawaii’s bulk of the lower-limb amputee population is those with diabetes, and the state’s incidence of diabetes is on the higher end compared with other states in the U.S., the group said. Also, Hawaii’s diabetes rates have been increasing over the last two decades.

In Hawaii hospitals, 710 amputations for various reasons were performed in 2014, according to the most recent data by the Amputee Coalition.

About 2 million people in the U.S. are currently living with limb loss and an estimated 185,000 amputations per year occur, the coalition said. This number is expected to double by 2050 due to rising diabetes and vascular disease rates.

The major causes of amputations are vascular disease (54 percent), including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease; trauma (45 percent); and cancer (less than 2 percent).

Eighteen years ago Jan. 21, Ver Kuilen, at age 10, had her leg amputated below the knee due to a rare bone cancer.

She has made it her life’s goal to expand access to prosthetic technology for all amputees and helped found Forrest Stump, a nonprofit advocacy organization with the same mission.

Ver Kuilen said during her talk that mass media has glamorized prosthetic technology, and Fortune 500 companies leverage by aligning brands with prosthetic success stories and devices. Some media reports go so far as to question whether people willingly amputate in order to gain a bionic limb.

“I mean, who here would trade any of your legs for any of the prosthetic technology you’ve seen during this conference?” she said. “There is no present technology out there today that can fully replace a human limb and it is alarming that our country is more concerned with the unfair advantage of a small amount of people than the unfair disadvantage the majority of us face on a daily basis.”

The average consumer does not realize how inaccessible and expensive prosthetic technology can be for the majority of amputees. With the exception of military individuals and Paralympic athletes, 99 percent of amputees living in the U.S. don’t get waterproof, running and other essential devices, Ver Kuilen said.

“This is not to say that the military and Paralympic athlete amputees are not deserving — they are deserving of access to prosthetic technology, but it’s the way in which our resources, our funding, our policies have been made that have perpetuated access for these select few and not granted access to the majority of amputees that are out there,” she said. “We need to focus on the real problem at hand, which is the unfair disadvantages that amputees are facing.”

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at kcerizo@mauinews.com.

Orthotic Prosthetic Continuing Education, Orthotics and Prosthetics State Meetings

2019 MWCAAOP Annual Meeting

The Midwest Chapter of the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists headed back to the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in the ever so charming town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, for the 2019 MWCAAOP Annual Meeting! Vari McPherson, CPO, MWCAAOP Board President, kicked off the event with a rousing welcome.

The event was held September 12-14, 2019 and provided over 14.25 continuing education credits for orthotists, prosthetists, pedorthists, technicians, as well as administrative and billing/reimbursement staff. Presenters from all over the United States lectured on a wide range of subjects – everything from critical Medicare updates to “Improved Clinical Outcomes with Consistent Successful Socket Fit via Full Weight Bearing Hydro-static Casting Techniques.”

Two and a half days of continuing education, golf, and of course, the Gunter Gehl Scholarship Award competition, made for a phenomenal event. Special thanks to Jerry Fenner of the Grand Geneva for providing exceptional customer service once again.

Abbey Senczyszyn was the winner of the 2019 Gunter Gehl Scholarship Award! MWCAAOP Board President Vari McPherson, CPO, presented Abbey with a check for $1,000.00. Congratulations Abbey!

Just some of the fantastic presenters…

Dennis Janisse, CPed
John Brinkmann, CPO, FAAOP
Jared Howell, MS, CPO, LPO, FAAOP
Steve Martin, OTR/L
Christofer Mowrer, CP
Robert Meier, CO, BOCO
Ann-Marie Rojas, MD
Brian Gustin, CP, FAAOP
Renee Lewis, BSE, CO, CPA
Don Foley
Stacie McMichel
Noel Chladek, CO
Jenny Kent, PhD
Caitlin Deom, PT, DPT
John T. Frederick, Jr., CPO/L
Dennis Smerko, CPO

Great material! Could personally relate.

presenter – john brinkmann, cpo, faaop – Using Motivational Techniques to Improve Patient Outcomes
D. Laur, co

Very pleasant and thorough.

presenter – Dennis Janisse, cped – back to pedorthic basics
E. Ventrice, CPed

Can’t wait to use system. Best thing since gel liners.

presenter – matt doering – Improved Clinical Outcomes with Consistent Successful Socket Fit via Full Weight Bearing Hydro-static Casting Techniques
M. raymond, cpo

Our 2019 MWCAAOP Exhibitors

Advanced O&P Solutions
Allard USA
Alps South
American Limb & Orthopedic Co
American Prosthetic Components
Anodyne
Becker Orthopedic
Bulldog Tools, Inc.
Cailor Fleming
Cascade Orthopedic Supply, Inc
Clinical Education Concepts
CGS Admin
College Park Industries
Diamond’s Fab, LLC
Dr. Comfort
Endolite
Fillauer
Freedom Innovations
Friddle’s Orthopedic Appliance
iFIT Prosthetics
Illinois Society Of Orthotists Prosthetists
Marathon Orthotics
OPGA
Orthomerica Products Inc.
Ossur Americas
Ottobock
PEL, LLC
Propét USA
Proteor USA
Royal Knit Inc.
Scheck & Siress
Spinal Technology, Inc.
SPS
Townsend – Thuasne USA