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Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Aid Recovery of Breast Cancer Patients

Today bipartisan legislation was introduced by U.S. Representatives Bill Posey (R-FL) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) to help aid breast cancer patients in their recovery following surgical procedures.

There is the risk of infection following breast cancer surgery due to the placement of post-surgical drains. Medicare currently covers the cost of post-surgical water resistant coverings in some circumstances, but not breast cancer surgery. The Post-Mastectomy Infection Reduction Act (H.R. 4627) authorizes Medicare to also extend this coverage for breast cancer patients when it is determined to be medically necessary to reduce the risk of infection.

“If a patient develops a surgical site infection and has to be readmitted to the hospital, not only is this bad for the patient but it would likely cost thousands of additional dollars,” said Rep. Posey. “The small cost of water resistant coverings in cases where the physician believes they are medically necessary to prevent infection will save lives and money by reducing the risk of infection. As a cancer survivor myself I can understand the struggle that so many with cancer and other diseases go through on a daily basis.”

“I am proud to introduce this legislation with my Florida colleague and fellow cancer survivor, Congressman Posey,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. “A double-mastectomy patient myself, I am acutely sensitive to the post-surgery needs of patients as they try to recover, heal and get back to a normal routine of things we often take for granted like cooking, dressing, working, and of course, bathing. Authorizing Medicare to support these coverings will bring much needed protection and peace of mind to recovering patients.”

When a patient undergoes a mastectomy, surgical drains are placed at the wound site, penetrating the skin and acting as a portal for bacteria to enter. While it is important to keep the body clean post surgery, exposure to tap water can increase the risk of bacteria entering the wound and causing an infection. Water resistant coverings allow a patient to shower while minimizing the risk of infection. End stage renal disease patients already have such coverage under the Medicare program.

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