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

from birth defects. A birth defect is an abnormality of structure, function, or body metabolism present at birth that results in physical or mental disabilities or is fatal. Of the 120,000 children born annually with birth defects, approximately 40,000 require reconstructive surgery.

Examples of these deformities include cleft lip, cleft palate, skin lesions, vascular anomalies, malformations of the ear, hand, or foot, and other more profound craniofacial deformities. Although surgeons are able to correct many of these problems, an increasing number of insurance companies are denying access to care by labeling the procedures "cosmetic" or "non-functional" in nature. A survey of ASPS Member Surgeons revealed that nearly 54 percent of respondents indicated they had pediatric patients who have been totally denied insurance coverage, or had experienced significant and deleterious obstacles in obtaining approval for coverage of surgical procedures.

"The CARES Act is common sense legislation that will improve the current delivery system and restore patients' and families' trust and confidence in their health plans. Too many American families are being denied access to health care that would prevent long-term physical and psychological injuries. The procedures used to treat these children are, by definition, reconstructive, and should be covered by insurance," said William Huffaker, M.D., Chair, ASPS government affairs committee. "Speaking on behalf of ASPS Member Surgeons, we thank the sponsors of this proposed legislation and appreciate their support. As plastic surgeons, we recognize this disparity on a personal level with our young reconstructive patients and their families."

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. With more than 6,700 members, the Society is recognized as a l
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SOURCE American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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