OpenProsthetics.org

Buying parts and things for yourself to do your own prosthetic service work

Prosthetic co-pays kill as they are so high at 20% usually, and what you are paying is usually more than even the cost of the parts with just a 20% co-pay !!!

It is time to end this practice and let amputees be able to buy items direct, save money; and do their own repairs and builds of their prosthetics if they want to, and the ADA act says so even.  Read more at adalawsuitrights dot com  (put it together yourself and go there)

You see, the FDA regulates prosthetic devices through the Food Drug and Cosmetics Act.   There are two types of prosthetics devices as far as the FDA is concerned.  Internal and External. The Internal - that is surgically implanted - devices; (like breasts and knee and hip joints) are tightly regulated as to manufacture and distribution. 
 
The external devices are largely exempt; but for minor reporting requirements. 

External leg and arm prosthetic devices and parts are  thus in the same class as crutches, canes and wheelchairs - that is they are considered over the counter items. 

BUT . . .  the prosthetics industry wants to  act to regulate them like they are INTERNAL devices keeping them away from the amputee directly and requiring a prescription be issued before  then only they can build one - but the prescription is actually only needed for INSURANCE to pay for what is built to allegedly a Doctor's order - NOT because Federal  law requires it.

 

The real advances are made - and always will be made - by people like Mr. Lesek (on this site)  who take the time to build a better prosthetic - because they wear it !!!

 

Read more above and get involved.  It could save you big bucks.

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Comment by Lester Paul Delcambre on April 2, 2012 at 7:51pm

Heck...here in Texas you have to have a prescription to get rubber bands for your hook...ridiculous! I've used the surgical tubing but the smallest nick starts the inevitable.

That's what brought me to this site looking for prostectic rubber bands and discovered the pig castration bands and tool (looks like the creature's mouth in Alien) needed to stretch them.

Comment by Wolf Schweitzer on December 2, 2011 at 6:17pm

So-called co-pay here is around 30%. 

Comment by Wolf Schweitzer on December 2, 2011 at 6:16pm

Well, you write: "External leg and arm prosthetic devices and parts are  thus in the same class as crutches, canes and wheelchairs - that is they are considered over the counter items.  BUT . . .  the prosthetics industry wants to  act to regulate them like they are INTERNAL devices keeping them away from the amputee directly and requiring a prescription be issued before  then only they can build one - but the prescription is actually only needed for INSURANCE to pay for what is built to allegedly a Doctor's order - NOT because Federal  law requires it."

Same here. It's not THAT hard to see things are pretty much the same wherever you look.

On second look, maybe it is. 

Comment by Robert Burns on December 2, 2011 at 1:20pm

Wolf;

While I was not clear on the parts being NEW or USED, the fact is simple - an amputee cannot buy a "NEW" replacement part for their own leg.  The amputee wearer cannot get specialty mounting hardware or parts "NEW" from distributors or the manufacturers that sell direct.  Something as simple as a "NEW" hydraulic cylinder which MANY AK's will tell you is part that fails often, only goes in with TWO bolts and could be cheaper if they do it themselves.  The "co-pay" costs as much as what the prostheticist actually pays "wholesale" for the part.

I have no idea what the Swiss "Cartel" really does as to used prosthetic parts; however in some cases a used part - like take an Endolite Adaptive knee - can be upgraded to new by simply putting in the latest revision of a replacement cylinder unit - which also has the smart electronics as part of the item. 

In this case it looks like the Cartel might be hurting the amputee who can get a used item cheaper than new and make it new again by a simple replacement item.  Frankly the same goes for all SNS style Hydraulic knees.

This post was at it's core about CHOICE.  The choice to let a prostheticist do it - or the choice to do it yourself, and in that vain - I will make a comparison to a person putting on their own automotive brakes by buying the parts, or having a mechanic do it for the obvious labor mark-up - which is this case could be both advice and labor that cost way more than needed. 

It is still the good ole' fashioned "rip-off" actually so prevalent in the prosthetic industry among prostheticist trying to keep the doors open and lights on for a sparsely populated business of amputee customers.

The post was made in accord a practice in America and references the FDA and ADA; so while interesting, Swiss Law and Policy is off point on this one.

Comment by Wolf Schweitzer on November 29, 2011 at 10:11am

I did not address "used" parts. I did address, however, "externally used prosthetic parts" as opposed to "internally used prosthetic parts" which would contain all sorts of implants. These are regulated and cannot be just imported and sold. I am sorry if extended sequences of words cause confusion. Furthermore, I did provide a link to a website entry that further highlights that this, in fact, does address the end user being able to buy direct. Try to re-read in case of difficulty. 

Comment by Mark Lesek on November 29, 2011 at 9:21am

Thank You Robert. I agree with you wholeheartedly. It Is all about making obcene profits on some ones elses misfortune. An absolutely closed shop mentality and junketing insurance claims.If you are not happy exersize your rights.Its not rocket science just engineering solutions. Look on Ebay prosthetics are cheap out side the good ol boys network, Or contact me .New parts can still be brought with the right connections.Otto Bock may control my former prosthetic clinic with supply but they do not control me. Luckily I have the resources to prove them wrong.

Comment by Robert Burns on November 28, 2011 at 8:20pm

This post was not about USED parts.  It was - and is - about the end user amputee being able to buy it themselves - direct.  It was written in accord American Law and the FDA issues.  The gist of the post is that amputees are likely to be superb designers of products by actually wearing using them

Comment by Wolf Schweitzer on November 27, 2011 at 9:30pm

In Switzerland, externally used prosthetic parts such as prosthetic limb components are entirely untested, unlicensed, unregistered and unapproved by any authority to begin with.

That does not mean that re-sellers will sell to you as end-user right away. However, our cartel commission actively solicits invitations to slam such practices. 

http://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=451

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