AAPD Co-Sponsors Congressional Briefing on Importance of Rehabilitation in America’s Healthcare System

Washington, D.C.  (June 23, 2011)– The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is pleased to co-sponsor a congressional briefing on “The Importance of Rehabilitation in America’s Healthcare System” noon to 1:30 p.m. today in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Room HVC-200.

“Rehabilitation and habilitation services and devices are critically important to the disability community,” said Jenifer Simpson, AAPD’s Senior Director of Government Affairs. “As the nation works to implement health care reform and develop essential benefits packages, these critical services and supports must be included.”

Rehabilitation and habilitation devices include wheelchairs, walkers, canes, orthotics and prosthetics, and a myriad of other assistive technologies that contribute to the functionality of people of any age with a disability. Services include assessments, evaluations, and maintenance, as well as treatment programs that maintain, increase and expand activities of daily living for people injured in accidents or by traumatic events, or for people born with or who acquire medical conditions or disabilities.

Keynote speakers at the Rehabilitation Briefing include Representatives Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who are Co-Chairs of the Congressional Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus.  Featured speakers include Gerard Francisco, M.D., the attending rehabilitation physician for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) injured by gunshot, Paul Tobin, President and CEO of the United Spinal Association and a veteran, and Dr. Jeanne Wilcox, an expert on rehabilitation services for children with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

“States are considering drastic cuts in Medicaid benefits, and we know that rehabilitation services and devices not only save and prolong lives but increase the independence of people who need them, reducing the societal cost of dependence and institutionalization,” Simpson said.

The event is hosted and organized by the ITEM Coalition, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Health Task Force, and the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation. AAPD is an instrumental member of ITEM and CCD.

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The American Association of People with Disabilities is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities.

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