Children’s Access to Reconstructive Care on Platform

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, families whose children require reconstructive plastic surgery are met with difficulty by insurance companies that deny coverage for deformities. As such, the organization is strongly supporting H.R. 1339, the “Children’s Access to Reconstructive Evaluation and Surgery Act” (CARES Act). The act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), and Bart Gordon (D-TN) recently. The goal of the act is to require insurance companies to provide coverage for trauma, infection, tumor, or disease deformities.

Over 5 million reconstructive plastic surgery procedures were performed in the U.S. in 2007, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The hardships that children with deformities experience are alarming. Research has demonstrated that children with deformities often rate lower in functioning for the areas of emotional, behavior and social development. In addition, children with deformities may experience more anxiety and tend to withdraw. The influence of childhood carries into adult years and may lead to poor social adjustment and self esteem.

The deformities that are most common among children include: cleft lip, cleft palate, skin lesions, vascular anomalies, malformations of the ear, hand, or foot, and other intensive craniofacial deformities.

Unfortunately, there are numerous healthcare plans that perceive plastic surgery as a cosmetic procedure and do not recognize the functional disability associated in life as a child with a deformity. Several of these healthcare plans are regulated by the Federal government. The Act will address the shortfall in such self-insured or insurance companies. Until then, many families must rely on non-profit organizations that support reconstructive plastic surgery for children with deformities. However, resources are not available for all children in need. The only hope for a long term solution is the ACT receiving approval.

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