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The American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) launched its "Coalition to Walk and Run Again," an effort to aid uninsured and under-insured victims of the April 15th Boston Marathon terror attack. The bombing killed 3 people and left more than 200 injured, several of whom lost portions of their legs as a result. Those who have or are undergoing amputations will be provided major assistance with the cost of their initial prostheses and related care, the group stated at a telephone press conference on April 30.

Although information is limited due to HIPAA laws, AOPA officials estimated that as many as 10 to 12 victims who had extremities amputated have either no health insurance or are under-insured and will face daunting costs associated with obtaining prosthetic limbs.

"Our goal here as the makers of artificial limbs is to extend compassionate aid to the victims of the Boston terror attacks...We want to ensure that, in the midst of this horrific tragedy, these individuals are not further traumatized by the harsh and unreasonable limits that are present in all too many health insurance policies today in the United States. As an industry, we would not want to see these people victimized twice," stated Tom Fise, AOPA Executive Director.

AOPA Vice President Charles Dankmeyer, founder of Dankmeyer, Inc., an orthotics and prosthetics firm in Linthicum, MD, added: "As the certified prosthetists and orthotists who practice in patient care facilities and the orthotic and prosthetic manufacturers who develop the technology and create the components for artificial limbs and customized bracing that restore mobility, we are in a unique position to offer needed assistance. We want to do what whatever we can to help these fellow Americans as they start this challenging journey."

“The costs for a below-knee device average $8,000 to $10,000 each and $40,000 to $60,000 for above-knee prosthetics, depending on components,” said Greig Martino, United Prosthetics, Inc. a Boston-area prosthetist treating bombing victims. He explained that as the patients continue to recover and begin to do rehabilitation, their insurance companies will be contacted and coverage determined. Their residual limbs need time to heal, and the types of devices needed will be determined at the proper time. He added: We want to “help them realize that their life has changed; it has not ended.”

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