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  • Will my state create a policy for acquiring a robotic arm?

    Posted by deann-r on March 8, 2024 at 9:20 am

    Have you ever wondered how policies on who can receive certain equipment through state-funded programs come about?

    Over the last two months, I got a glimpse of and participated in the process for my state of Minnesota. MN DHS is considering implementing a policy about robotic arm devices such as the Jaco Robotic Arm. It was eye-opening and intimidating.

    Shortly before the January meeting of the Health Services Advisory Committee, I received notice of the meeting and sent a link to attend. A company representative from where I got the Jaco knew I’d be interested since it took a year of denials and appeals with a hearing scheduled before finally getting my approval for the device. The device that provides me with a level of independence I didn’t know was possible.

    Unfortunately, at the initial meeting, they weren’t looking for public commentary. Only committee members and professionals invited to attend had the opportunity to speak. Without a signed disclosure form anyone else’s hands were tied. A whirlwind of questions and discussion regarding the device ensued. Here’s a link to what was talked about https://mn.gov/dhs/assets/2024-01-10-hsac-slide-deck_tcm1053-607351.pdf

    I couldn’t chime in to answer questions like, will it become less useful with disease progression? What’s the learning curve? And should caregiver hours be a determining factor? As someone used to have their hands tied, I listened patiently while keeping my video on and the Jaco in view using facial expressions in hopes of swaying some opinions.

    Before the second meeting, I submitted the disclosure form and was included in the docket for the February meeting. Although I knew I was added to the docket I didn’t realize I’d be kicking off the evening. Probably with a deer-in-the-headlights look, I introduced myself and tried to convey Jaco’s importance in my life.

    Four main questions were the topic of discussion for the evening. When reviewing JACO requests, how long should a minimum economic use lifetime be necessary? Should the video trial for prior authorizations be required to document the ADLs the recipient will complete using the device in their living arrangement? Or is a trial at a facility, such as an outpatient therapy office sufficient? How long of a trial period should recipients be required to log ADLs and monitor the time used? Should MHCP require a video trial of less costly alternatives such as mechanical arm support devices? My latest YouTube video shares some of my thoughts regarding these questions.

    A wide range of opinions came from this diverse group. It will be interesting to see what kind of policy is created and whether it will make it easier or more difficult for individuals to receive this equipment.

    How does your state create policies? I would love to hear how you would have answered some of their questions as well.

    deann-r replied 1 month ago 1 Member · 0 Replies
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