For many people with MS, physical, speech or occupational therapy may be essential in preventing their abilities from deteriorating. However, many of these folks have been denied medically necessary rehabilitation services that they are eligible for through Medicare because of something called the “improvement standard.”
The standard actually violates Medicare’s own official regulations, which say that “the restoration potential of a patient is not the deciding factor” for coverage and that therapies that help prevent physical and cognitive deterioration or maintain optimal functioning, even if improvement is not expected, are to be covered.
This past January, a class-action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Vermont, with the National MS Society as the first national health organization named plaintiff, and subsequently joined by the Alzheimer’s Association, United Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s Action Network and Paralyzed Veterans of America. The lawsuit seeks to assure that a person’s “improvement” status is not a basis for denying ongoing therapy services. The outcome will be reported in “Government News” at www.nationalMSsociety.org/advocacy.
Key early-stage research on an oral treatment for spasticity, the painful and debilitating muscle spasms associated with MS, is underway at Canbex Therapeutics. The UK-based company received a $2.8 million Translation Award in March, 2011, from the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation, to support this research. The work is being led by David Baker, PhD, an MS investigator under the National MS Society’s Promise: 2010 initiative. The Canbex spasticity program has been supported by the Society’s Fast Forward initiative to move this potential therapy toward clinical trial faster.
Momentum, the National MS Society’s flagship magazine, is now available online at www.nationalMSsociety.org/magazine in a fully digital edition with plenty of bonus features. It includes all content from the print edition, including advertisements, and allows you to click on live hyperlinks, comment on articles and respond to reader comments, download whole issues as PDFs, print pages and share articles via e-mail, links or by posting to social networks. Digital Momentum is also available for free from iTunes and the Android Market. The app includes the magazine, the latest Society news, our Twitter feed and videos.
The Real Talk team has developed a Real Talk, Real Answers app that takes the information we’ve gathered from these programs and makes it available as a mobile app, available for download free on iTunes today!
The direct link to download the app is:
What is it? A QR Code.
Use your smart phone camera and a QR Reader App to take a picture. You’ll be directed via a website to a particular place of interest..
Judy Hallam of Meriden, N.H., was awarded the Governor’s Accessibility Award on July 26, 2011, at the State House during a celebration of the 21st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Hallam, who was diagnosed with progressive MS in 1995, was recognized for her “exceptional contribution and extraordinary effort in the past year to ensure that New Hampshire is open and accessible to all people.” In presenting the award, Governor Lynch acknowledged Hallam’s advocacy efforts on issues related to accessible parking, and her tireless work to ensure that the state of New Hampshire has “respect for the stripes.” Unable to attend the ceremony because of the limitations of her multiple sclerosis, Hallam’s award was accepted on her behalf by Ken Jones of Amherst, who is a Trustee of the Greater New England Chapter and Chairman of the Chapter’s N.H. Government Relations Committee. Jones traveled recently to Hallam’s home in Meriden to personally deliver the award.
Judy Hallam (center) of Meriden, N.H., proudly displays her Governor’s Accessibility Award for “exceptional contribution and extraordinary effort in the past year to ensure that New Hampshire is open and accessible to all people.” Also pictured are Phil Hallam (right), Judy’s husband, and Ken Jones (left) of Amherst, N.H., Chair of the National MS Society’s N.H. Government Relations Committee.