Amputee advocate to address legislators again

LuAnn Kleemeyer
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 22, 2017 9:00 am

QUINCY -- LuAnn Kleemeyer is returning to Washington, D.C.

Kleemeyer, who in 2015 addressed a group of legislators as an advocate for the Amputee Coalition of America, is making a return trip to the nation's capital.

"I enjoy being an advocate," said Kleemeyer, a 59-year-old Quincy resident who lost her right leg in 2007. "I have always had a passion to do this."

She will speak on "insurance fairness" April 25-26 visit to Washington. Two years ago, Kleemeyer addressed problems with Medicare that affected amputees' access to appropriate prosthetic care and the potential elimination of coverage for certain prosthetic devices that amputees depend on for their livelihoods.

Kleemeyer is proud her effort in 2015 helped derail the proposed Medicare legislation and is hoping for similar success in April. She will be one of more than 40 advocates from across the country representing the Amputee Coalition.

"We'll be face to face with (the legislators)," she said. "There are five main things we will be talking about."

The principal topics will be:

Insurance fairness for amputees.

Health care reform in general.

Clarification of local coverage for amputees.

Support programs and research for the loss of limb community.

The amputees' need for qualified providers at the local level.

Kleemeyer said "Amplify" is the new mantra for the Amputee Coalition, which seeks to create awareness of the daily needs and obstacles for amputees.

Kleemeyer hopes to devote more time to advocacy after her May graduation from Quincy University. She is majoring in psychology with a minor in theology.

Amputee Coalition information says more than 185,000 people become amputees in the U.S. each year. There are nearly 2 million Americans living with limb loss.

Kleemeyer said in 2015 that she wanted to be a voice and to make a difference.

That has not changed.

"I hope I can make a difference with my testimony as a grandmother, mother, an older person who lives alone and someone who still wants her life and (to live it) to the fullest," she said.