Nov 24, 2020
Amputation Reduction and Compassion (ARC) Act supports patient education and screening of at-risk populations to reduce lower limb amputation
Washington, D.C. – In recognition of American Diabetes Month, the CardioVascular Coalition (CVC) – a coalition of physicians, care providers, advocates, and manufacturers working to improve awareness and prevention of peripheral artery disease (PAD) – is urging lawmakers in Congress to support the Amputation Reduction and Compassion (ARC) Act (H.R. 8615), legislation to expand education and screening for peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is a vascular disease that is often associated with diabetes and other related co-morbidities.
The ARC Act was introduced last month by Representative Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) and co-sponsored by Reps. Bobby Rush (IL-01) and Ruben Gallego (AZ-7), to reduce amputations and close the racial disparities gap in PAD by increasing screening and education. The bill calls for Medicare and Medicaid coverage to include PAD screening tests and policies to prevent medical providers from being reimbursed for amputation procedures without first completing arterial testing. The ARC Act would also establish educational initiatives that inform health care professionals and the public about peripheral artery disease and the importance of early detection.
More than 34.2 million Americans have diabetes, and an additional 88 million more are pre-diabetic, putting them at a higher risk for developing PAD. PAD is responsible for more than 80% of non-traumatic lower limb amputations in the U.S. each year, many of which could be avoided with appropriate screening and intervention. Early PAD screening has proven to reduce the probability of an amputation resulting from PAD by 90 percent, underscoring the critical importance of policies to expand patient access to screening to reduce the occurrence of amputation in the U.S.
Unfortunately, PAD-related amputations occur more frequently among minority communities. Research shows that right now, Black Americans with diabetes are up to four times more likely to undergo an amputation as a consequence of PAD compared to white Americans. Similarly, Hispanic and Native Americans with diabetes experience PAD at a measurably higher rates than white Americans.
“We commend Rep. Donald R. Payne, Jr. and his co-sponsors, Rep. Ruben Gallego and Rep. Bobby Rush, for their leadership on this issue,” said Dr. Jeffrey Carr, founding and past president of the Outpatient Endovascular and Interventional Society (OEIS) and a member of the CVC. “We hope lawmakers in Congress will support H.R. 8615 to bring early screening to America’s most high-risk individuals, including those who are diabetic and pre-diabetic.”