In a landslide victory for lymphedema patients in Virginia, House Bill 1737 (pdf format, 71kb) was voted into law in January of this year. Introduced by Delegate Leo Wardrup (R-Virginia Beach), the bill states, in part:
A. ... each insurer proposing to issue individual or group accident and sickness insurance policies providing hospital, medical and surgical, or major medical, coverage on an expense-incurred basis; each corporation providing individual or group accident and sickness subscription contracts; and each health maintenance organization providing a health care plan for health care services shall provide coverage for lymphedema as provided in this section.
B. Coverage under this section shall include benefits for equipment, supplies, complex decongestive therapy, and outpatient self-management training and education for the treatment of lymphedema, if prescribed by a health care professional legally authorized to prescribe or provide such items under law."
Although the bill will not go into effect until January of 2004, it is a major milestone for lymphedema awareness and treatment; one that we hope will have an impact on the passage of legislation in other states and, ultimately, on Capitol Hill.
Congratulations and kudos to the entire team that worked so hard to pass this legislation, and most especially to Delegate Leo Wardrup for his tireless and continued dedication to putting lymphedema in its rightful place on the map of mainstream American medicine.
To view the full text of HB 1737, please click here (pdf format, 71kb).