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ASPS Applauds Introduction of Legislation to Increase Access to Reconstructive Surgery for Children
Date:3/9/2009

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill., March 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) today announced its strong support of H.R. 1339, the "Children's Access to Reconstructive Evaluation and Surgery Act" -- or CARES Act. This bi-partisan legislation was introduced today in the House of Representatives by Reps. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), and Bart Gordon (D-TN).

In response to the difficulty families face when insurance companies deny coverage for reconstructive procedures to correct deformities in children, the CARES Act would require insurance companies to provide coverage for the treatment of a child's congenital or developmental deformity or disorder due to trauma, infection, tumor, or disease. Many states have attempted to address similar issues. In fact, nearly a decade ago, Texas enacted comparable legislation. However, state laws do not help the many families covered by health plans regulated solely by Federal law - typically by large multi-state employers who self-insure and are regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

"The ASPS and CARES Coalition believes that a statutory requirement for insurance coverage of children's deformities is vital to correct the growing problem of insurance companies denying care on the grounds that the care provided is cosmetic in nature," said Malcolm Z. Roth, M.D., ASPS board vice president for health policy and advocacy. The American Medical Association defines reconstructive surgery as being performed on abnormal structures of the body caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors or disease. Reconstructive surgery is generally performed to improve function and approximate a normal appearance. The CARES Act identifies the distinction between cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

According to the March of Dimes, 3 percent of babies born annually (120,000) suffer
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SOURCE American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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