Fitzpatrick Reforms Medicare for Breast Cancer Survivors

May 10, 2013 Issues: Health
Fitzpatrick Reforms Medicare for Breast Cancer Survivors

LANGHORNE, PA – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) announced on Friday the reintroduction of legislation meant to improve the quality of life for breast cancer patients and survivors following surgery.

The Breast Cancer Recovery Improvement Act [H.R. 1902] – introduced Thursday in honor of Mothers’ Day - aims to change Medicare policy to give beneficiaries meaningful access to critical doctor- prescribed post-surgical camisoles, or garments, following breast cancer surgery. 

“An oversight in Medicare prevents breast cancer survivors from getting the post-surgical breast camisoles they need at the time they leave the hospital,” said Fitzpatrick, “I think that is insensitive and wrong; this bill fixes the oversight. 

“For female cancer survivors the recovery process begins immediately following surgery- not when you are discharged,” continued Fitzpatrick, “The law needs to reflect real life needs, not bureaucratic convenience.”  

Post-surgical camisoles are a type of prosthetic, medical device which accommodates a light weight post-surgery breast form. These doctor- prescribed garments  are measured and fitted for patients and provide a balanced silhouette to a women immediately following surgery, such as a mastectomy, lumpectomy, or reconstructive breast surgery. 

The sensible legislative fix makes the necessary changes to Medicare policy to ensure that external breast prosthesis garments are covered whether supplied to beneficiaries prior to or after a mastectomy or other breast cancer procedure.

The bill does not add items to Medicare coverage; it just changes the timing of already allowable, reimbursable purchases.

“I am very blessed I have health insurance with my job, so I never realized this was something other women faced,” said Sonia Smith, a breast cancer survivor and mother of two from Doylestown, who joined Fitzpatrick for the announcement. “After I had my surgery, and they gave me a camisole I took it for granted that this is something every women gets- it shouldn’t be something anyone should have to fight for.”

 “We didn’t even have these garments when I was diagnosed, something like this would have literally been life alerting because I didn’t feel like I could leave my house after my surgery.” said Heather McClune of Morrisville, a 23- year breast cancer survivor and Certified Mastectomy Fitter, who joined the announcement. “We’re not adding a service, we’re not asking for something that isn’t already there, we’re just asking that these women not have to feel like they can’t get the care they need.”

“On Mothers’ Day, we will celebrate the special women in our lives and all they do for us,” said Fitzpatrick. “We need to make sure that in their time of need, we are there for them.”


Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.