As M-Power has grown over the last 14 years, so have the needs of our community! Here, we hope to capture a little of the magic, tips, tricks, and inspiration that we get to enjoy most every day here at the office. We hope this information is helpful to the community we serve and look forward to helping our readers "Find their Independence! "
January 31, 2019
In this edition of the M-Power blog, we discuss the life-cycle of the prosthetic. The journey to #FindYourIndependence!
The first step in your journey is to be fitted with a shrinker. A shrinker is a compression sock that controls swelling and helps shape your residual limb during the healing process. Shrinkers come in many different sizes based on a patient’s amputation level. A member of our staff will measure and fit you with the appropriate size.
When your surgeon feels your limb is healed enough to allow you to bear weight using a prosthetic device, they will give us clearance to begin the prosthetic evaluation and fitting process. Please keep in mind that healing times vary depending on a wide range of factors, including the level of amputation, skin integrity, and comorbidities such as diabetes, circulation issues, etc. It is critically important not to rush this step since bearing weight on your residual limb before it is properly healed can lead to complications that will only further delay the prosthetic process.
After being cleared by your surgeon, you will be scheduled for an initial evaluation appointment. During this appointment, one of our practitioners will sit down and discuss your health history, lifestyle and goals so we have an overall “snapshot” of you and your functional needs. Your prosthetist will also perform a functional test by asking you to perform a variety of tasks that will help identify your current and potential level of mobility.
Information from the initial evaluation will be used to make a prosthetic recommendation. We will contact your insurance company to confirm coverage of prosthetic services and to determine any financial responsibility you may have before your prosthesis will be delivered. We will discuss your financial obligations prior to starting the process.
Functional Assessor Visit
Before receiving your prosthesis, you may need to visit a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) doctor, a Physical Therapist, or other health care professional. These providers specialize in assessing and addressing the specific criteria necessary to qualify you for a prosthesis. This appointment will include a similar evaluation and some additional functional testing. Once we develop an agreed treatment plan, your provider will fax us a detailed prescription and the appropriate medical records that will allow our team to proceed.
Once we have all the required documentation, we will initiate authorization with your insurance company, if required. Please note, it takes two weeks on average (and sometimes longer) for insurance companies to reply with an approval or denial for your prosthesis. Our office will communicate with you once we receive a response.
After the initial evaluation, we will schedule you for a casting appointment. Your practitioner will cast your residual limb to capture an accurate shape that will help us to fabricate a prosthesis that is specifically fitted for you. Measurements will be taken of your limb as well to ensure accuracy of the cast.
Diagnostic Socket Fittings
About one week after the casting appointment, you will be fitted with your first diagnostic socket. This will be a clear, “mock” version of your prosthesis that will allow the prosthetist to see any areas of socket pressure that may require adjustments. Your prosthetist will ask you to walk on your components (like your prosthetic knee and/or foot) to help align the prosthesis. Be sure to bring a matching pair of shoes so your prosthetist can dial in the correct prosthetic height. It typically takes several appointments and different diagnostic sockets to obtain an optimal fit. If you would like to personalize your socket in any way, be sure to bring in the fabric or other desired imagery to your last diagnostic appointment. If you have any questions about personalization options, we have a helpful guide that will show you some designs for other M-Power patients as examples.
Once everything is comfortable in your diagnostic socket, we will proceed to definitive fabrication. Our lab typically can complete this process in one week. At your delivery appointment, your prosthetist will fine-tune the fit and ensure that you are comfortable and walking appropriately. Your prosthetist will provide you with an informational packet with tips about the proper use and care of your device.
Physical and/or Occupational Therapy
We strongly encourage our patients to get involved in a formal therapy program to help them learn how to best use their prosthesis and achieve their functional goals. Participating in a physical and/or occupational therapy program can help you avoid bad habits and dramatically improve how you walk and function with a prosthesis. Ask your prosthetist for a list of local therapy clinics if you are unsure who to contact.
We will see you at regular intervals after you receive your prosthesis. We will continue to monitor the fit of your prosthesis and make any necessary adjustments along the way. If you have questions or if you are experiencing discomfort, do not to wait until your next scheduled appointment. Feel free to call our office any time to schedule an appointment for an adjustment.
November 30, 2018
Documentation Key in Finding Your Independence!
Insurance issues often represent one of the biggest struggles for amputees who are also dealing with the loss of a limb. That is why you should know that your doctor’s opinions will impact the level of support your insurance company will provide in terms providing a new or replacement prosthetic device.
In today’s healthcare environment, it is crucial for every amputee to discuss their amputation and prosthetic usage every time they visit their treating physician. Whether you’re going in for a wellness visit or something as simple as a common cold, it is critical that you take the time to talk with your doctor about your experience with your prosthesis.
By having these conversations before you need a new or replacement prosthetic, your doctor’s notes will support the MEDICAL NECESSITY for your device. When a doctor says they believe your device is medically necessary, insurers take notice.
Currently, most insurance companies (including Medicare) will cover a prosthesis when two criteria are met:
- When a patient is MOTIVATED TO WALK. This means your doctor needs to write “motivated to walk” in your records.
- When a patient will reach a defined functionality (K-Level) within a reasonable amount of time. Make sure your doctor notes your K-Level in your records.
Once your physician notes that you WANT TO WALK, the next important step is that they note your K-Level. Doctors often depend on your rehabilitation team to assign a proper K-Level designation. However, it is important that your records mention activities that help support your K-Level. This is key because your K-Level will determine the type of prosthetic feet and knees that can be used in your prosthesis.
Following are the different K-Levels that can be assigned:
- K Zero: A patient does not have the ability/potential to ambulate or transfer safely with or without assistance, and a prosthesis does not enhance their quality of life or mobility. This level does not warrant a prescription for a prosthesis and there is no coverage for any type of prosthesis.
- K One: A patient has the ability/potential to use a prosthesis for transfers or ambulation on level surfaces at fixed cadence. This is typical of a person who walks only in their home.
- K Two: A patient has the ability or potential for ambulation with the ability to traverse low-level environmental barriers such as curbs, stairs or uneven surfaces. This is typical of the limited community ambulator at a fixed cadence.
- K Three: A patient has the ability or potential for ambulation with variable cadence. Someone at level K Three is typically a community ambulator who also can traverse most environmental barriers and may have vocational, therapeutic or exercise activity that demands prosthetic use beyond simple locomotion.
- K Four: A patient has the ability or potential for prosthetic ambulation that exceeds basic ambulation skills, exhibiting high impact, stress or energy levels.
In addition to your MOTIVATION TO WALK and your activities that support your K-Level, be sure to tell your doctor about changes in your prosthetic usage. Following is a checklist of things you should cover at every appointment or as often as possible:
- How is the overall health of your limb? Any callouses, redness or tender spots?
- Have you lost or gained any weight since receiving your prosthesis?
- What does your typical day look like? Work, house chores, shopping? Do you walk any stairs? Do you navigate parking lots? Yard work? Make sure your physician documents your ACTIVITIES so we can justify your K-Level.
- How many hours each day do you wear your prosthetic limb? How many days each week?
- Has your daily routine changed? Regular visits to the gym, got a new dog, watching the grandkids, or have your job duties changed?
- Have your living arrangements changed?
- How is your prosthesis in general? Is anything worn out? Broken? Or simply doesn’t fit well?
- How is your sound side? Any back, hip, knee, ankle, or foot pain?
- Do you walk with a cane or walker? Do you use a wheelchair occasionally for long distances?
As with many things in life, communication and documentation are what accomplish real results. Be open with your doctor and stress the importance of having updated records that accurately reflect your situation. Doing so will only make things easier when it comes time to deal with your insurer once you need a new or replacement device. It is also another great way to help FIND YOUR INDEPENDENCE!
November 1, 2018
Samuel Bonilla – M-Power’s Latest Success Story
When Samuel Bonilla came to M-Power earlier this year, he had been confined to a wheelchair for more than a year after undergoing above-knee amputations of both his legs. Today, he’s one step closer to Finding His Independence!
Samuel’s amputations resulted from injuries he suffered after he was shot six times without warning while exiting his car at a Southeast Houston apartment complex in July 2017. The three suspects stole Samuel’s wallet, cell phone and car before leaving him for dead. They have yet to be identified despite the efforts of the Houston Police Department.
Surgeons were able to save Samuel’s life, but his injuries left him jobless and unable to fully care for his then 2-year-old son. He later moved to Dallas to live with family members who are assisting with his care.
After arriving in Dallas, Samuel was referred to M-Power by one of his friends. During his first visit, M-Power founder Amy Mehary vowed to help Samuel and began contacting companies that supply prosthetics to those in need.
“Samuel’s story touched every one of us here at M-Power,” Amy says. “We all knew after meeting him that we would do whatever we could within our power to make sure that Samuel regained his mobility and would no longer need a wheelchair.”
Samuel Takes His First Steps
Working with Michigan-based prosthetic manufacturer College Park Industries and the Oklahoma-based Limbs for Life Foundation, M-Power was able to secure donated devices that were specifically fitted for Samuel.
A few weeks ago, Samuel took his first steps since his initial surgery. You can see a related video via facebook here:
Now, M-Power is helping Samuel adjust to his new prosthetics while attempting to find other manufacturers that may be able to provide new devices as he regains his mobility. Samuel says his eventual goal is to have full prosthetic legs that will allow him to return to work and take care of his son.
Local TV Station Documents Samuel’s Recovery
Samuel shocked everyone at M-Power based on the rapid progress he made with his first, shortened prosthetic legs that helped him learn how to walk again and maintain his balance. Within a few weeks, he came back to our offices, so we could lengthen his prosthetics with the eventual goal of fitting him with full prosthetic legs.
Based on his determination and raw physical strength, Samuel showed levels of mobility that often take other amputees months to achieve. We were so thrilled with his progress that we asked Samuel if he would be willing to share his story. He graciously said yes.
That’s when we contacted local television reporter Teresa Woodard of WFAA-ABC 8 about doing a report on Samuel’s journey. After spending the day with Samuel at our offices and learning more about him and his situation, Teresa saw the same courage and grit that have made our team so proud of Samuel.
As a result, Teresa put together a full report that aired on WFAA on Thursday, Nov. 1, which you can see here.
Helping people such as Samuel is a privilege for our entire team at M-Power. After meeting him and learning about his circumstances, there was no way we could accept the prospect of him having to rely on a wheelchair for the rest of his life. We are so proud to work with Samuel in the journey to Find His Independence!
Samuel’s family set up a GoFundMe account to help cover future costs.
September 30, 2018
M-Power Welcomes Carol Garrison as Prosthetist/Orthotist
We are proud to announce the addition of Carol Garrison as the newest member of the M-Power team! Carol is a Licensed Prosthetist/Orthotist who brings more than 20 years of experience helping amputees and other patients Find Their Independence!
In her new role at M-Power, Carol will handle all phases of patient care, including evaluation, development of treatment plans, device fabrication and follow-up education and outreach. She specializes in transtibial prosthetics and the management of Charcot Arthropathy, a progressive condition that most often affects patients’ feet and ankles.
“I want my patients to feel heard and respected,” Carol says. “I want to improve their function help them reach their maximum potential.”
Carol begins her work with each patient by conducting a detailed consultation, including making sure all the appropriate referral paperwork is in place. After developing a device specifically suited to what her client needs and making sure it fits properly, she goes the extra mile to make sure they know how to best use their new device.
“I take education very seriously for the people I’m treating,” Carols says. “I take my time to make sure they understand the function, care, and maintenance of their device. I also make sure that my patients clearly understand how to take care of themselves to maintain a high level of safety.”
Road to M-Power
Carol first became interested in prosthetics/orthotics after originally attending Texas Woman’s University with the intention of pursuing a career in physical therapy. She says one of her first classes focused on the types of patients who rely on physical therapists.
“As soon as they discussed orthotics and prosthetics, I knew I needed to switch, so I did,” Carol says.
After completing her B.S. in biology with minors in chemistry and psychology at TWU, she went on to earn her B.S. in prosthetics and orthotics from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center School of Allied Health Sciences in Dallas.
In addition to being licensed in orthotics and prosthetics by the Texas Board of Orthotics and Prosthetics, Carol also is a Certified Orthotist by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics.
Carol says she first met M-Power founder Amy Mehary as a “respected competitor” while working for another prosthetist/orthotist. After leaving her prior practice, Carol brought her husband to M-Power for prosthetic care.
“After watching the M-Power staff provide quality service to my husband, I decided I wanted to be a part of this company,” she says. “I was thrilled that Amy felt the same way!”
Carol has experienced a lot of changes in the industry since beginning her career in prosthetics and orthotics. Like everyone at M-Power, adapting to the latest developments in technology and techniques is always top of mind.
“Over the years, I’ve seen the addition of microprocessors and advanced gel materials, and many other new tools we now use to create new devices,” she says. “It’s been a fascinating learning curve.”
Carol estimates that she’s helped more than 1,000 patients during her career. One of her most memorable success stories involved a bilateral amputee father whose main goal was to be fitted with prosthetic legs that would enable him to dance with his daughter at her upcoming quinceañera.
After Carol successfully fitted the proud dad with his new prosthetics, they practiced dancing together to help him get ready for the big night, which Carol says she wouldn’t have missed.
“It was a wonderful experience to see him walk across the dance floor and lead his daughter at the official ‘daddy/daughter’ dance,” she says. “Watching them dancing with tears of joy in their eyes will be a memory I never forget.”
When she isn’t helping patients, Carol typically can be found outdoors. In addition to maintaining a large urban garden with rainwater harvesting, composting and backyard chickens, she is a certified Texas Master Naturalist with the North Texas Chapter. Her devotion to protecting the environment includes volunteering for efforts to control litter and keep community trails clean and safe.
Please make sure you say hello to Carol the next time you’re in our offices and welcome her to the M-Power team!
August 31, 2018
M-POWER FOUNDER REFLECTS ON 13 YEARS OF EMPOWERING PATIENTS
This month marks the 13th anniversary for M-Power Prosthetics & Orthotics, and we want to thank each of our clients and their families for entrusting our team to help them Find Their Independence!
In this post, we’re looking back at how we got here and what we’re planning for the years to come.
How We Started
Founder - Amy Mehary
M-Power was founded in 2005 by our clinical director Amy Mehary and her husband Chris Mehary, who serves as the liaison between our clinical staff and Rehabilitation Team specialists.
After graduating from college with what she says were “no real marketable skills,” Amy took a job as a temporary office worker to help build a database for a prosthetics company in Dallas.
“Once the database was complete, I was offered a full-time job because I was the only one who knew the program,” Amy says. “That job gave me a front-row seat to a successful rehabilitation journey, which led me to go back to school to study prosthetics and orthotics. The rest is history.”
Amy completed her residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center and the Texas Diabetes Institute, both in San Antonio. After working in a private practice there, she decided to move back to Dallas in 2002 to rejoin her original employer as a clinician. Three years later Amy and Chris launched M-Power.
We Help Inspire Patients
At M-Power, our work to help patients achieve the highest possible levels of mobility sometimes means helping them find inspiration for the journey ahead. One memorable example was when Amy enlisted a famous 80s hair metal musician to help a young patient whose arm was amputated following a car accident.
While working with the young man to develop his prosthetic, he told Amy he was struggling with how he would have a fulfilling life beyond his injury. That’s when she reached out to Def Leppard’s drummer for inspiration.
“I was able to connect him with Rick Allen, who also lost his arm in a car accident,” she says. “After they chatted, my client called me to thank me. He said it was the first time that he felt like he could breathe after his accident, and the first time he believed it when he told his parents he would be OK.”
This is just one of many similar success stories M-Power has shared with our patients over the years.
M-Power’s Core Values
M-Power was founded on the core values of Transparency, Respect, Curiosity and the commitment to Celebrate Successes.
“I wanted to create an environment that I would want to take my mother or grandmother to,” Amy says. “I needed the autonomy to make decisions based on ideal outcomes and not be constrained by budgets or quotas or deadlines. We build devices, but we also build relationships, and that can take time.”
Her vision of a family environment really did come true when Amy hired her mother as M-Power’s first employee. Flash forward 13 years and we are now home to nine dedicated professionals and counting.
While M-Power has evolved since we started, so have the methods of patient care and rehabilitation. Advances in technologies such as gel liners, elevated vacuum, fiberglass feet, and microprocessor technology enable our staff to develop more customized and functional solutions for our patients.
Amy says her goal is to make sure that M-Power continues to evolve going forward.
“We wouldn’t be here today if we didn’t stay on top of our game. That means getting our clients the help they need, whether that means building them a new arm or leg, helping them navigate insurance issues, or providing inspiration when they need it most,” she says. “I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish since we opened our doors, but there’s still a lot of work to be done and we’re looking forward to making it happen.”
July 31, 2018
M-Power Helps DAN Members Attend Amputee Coalition Conference
M-Power is proud to announce that our friends at the Dallas Amputee Network (DAN) once again has sent more members to the annual Amputee Coalition National Conference than any other amputee support group in the country.
A total of 33 DAN members, including several M-Power clients, attended the four-day conference last month in Tucson, Arizona, along with thousands of amputees from across the U.S. DAN is the nation’s largest and most-active amputee support group.
D.A.N. Member's in attendance at ACNC in Tuscon
M-Power has been a proud sponsor of DAN and the group’s annual Legapalooza fundraiser from day one. In addition to many other beneficial programs, Legapalooza helps provide travel and accommodations for DAN members who otherwise may not have been able to make the trip.
We recently visited with three M-Power clients to learn more about what they saw and heard in Tucson. Here’s what they had to say:
Bethany Joyce is a former gymnast who became an M-Power client after her right leg was amputated below the knee in 2015. She lost her leg after a two-story fall from a garage while working with a wildlife rescue group. Soon after her surgery, she became a DAN member and she now serves as DAN’s Director of Communications and Social Media.
Bethany (right) with Jen another member of D.A.N. at ACNC in Tuscon
This marked the third year Bethany has attended the Amputee Coalition conference, which she recommends every amputee attend.
“The conference includes all types of programs on nearly every topic you can imagine,” she says. “The guest speakers included everyone from psychiatrists to psychologists to even a sex therapist. There’s something for everybody.”
Bethany says two of the more popular programs were a mobility clinic and a running clinic. Staffed by volunteer physical therapy students using the latest safety equipment, the mobility clinic was geared toward new amputees and anyone needing help with physical therapy. For lower-extremity amputees, the clinic focused on everything from how to fall correctly without injuring yourself or your device, to getting up and down from a seated position, to improving your balance by standing on one leg.
The running clinic hosted by the Orthotic & Prosthetic Activities Foundation took place in the giant ballroom at the Marriott Tucson Starr Pass hotel. Bethany says the program started slowly by design to help participants improve their stability before moving on to an obstacle course and eventual full-on running.
In addition to the presentations and clinics, the conference also included vendors for practically every type of product for amputees, including the latest advancements in prosthetic devices, socks, liners, skin care, more.
“That’s what the Amputee Coalition conference is about. It’s everything you need in one place,” Bethany says.
M-Power began working with Travis White five years ago after his right leg was amputated below the knee following a serious injury sustained in a fire.
Travis at the ACNC in Tuscon
A DAN member since his surgery, Travis is a massage therapist who also serves as a Certified Peer Visitor for both DAN and the Parkland Burn Center at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. He has attended the Amputee Coalition National Conference the past two years.
“The conference is always fun because you get to meet new people, hear their stories and tell your story,” Travis says. “I’ve met people from all walks of life from the East Coast to the West Coast. We even had several people there this year from other countries, including the United Kingdom.”
Travis says one of the programs he attended and enjoyed was a gait clinic aimed at helping participants improve their stability and ability to walk.
“They test how you walk and how good your stride is,” Travis says. “They told me I was pretty symmetrical in my steps, but I was still favoring my prosthetic leg, which is common. It’s just something you have to work on.”
Travis also participated in the “First Swim,” program, which is aimed at helping amputees learn or re-learn how to swim. Travis, who already knew how to swim, says he went to help the program leaders and to learn a few tips on how to swim better himself. He even got to meet a member of the U.S. Paralympics Swim Team, who was helping lead the program.
Terry Hess has been an M-Power client for nearly nine years after his right leg was amputated below the knee based on complications stemming from his Type 1 diabetes. He joined DAN soon after his surgery, and now serves as a Certified Peer Visitor for DAN. He also maintains DAN’s membership database.
This marked the fifth Amputee Coalition National Conference that Terry has attended. He said he spent a lot of time attending seminars and conference programs, including the previously mentioned gait clinic.
One of the programs that caught his attention was called “Aging in Place,” which focused on issues for older amputees.
“I’m 69 years old and I’m like a lot of people who want to stay in their own homes as they get older,” Terry says. “This program was about planning ahead to make sure that you will have mobility at home if there are later complications. For example, cost can become an issue if you need to remodel your bathroom to account for your level of mobility. Everything may be fine today, but there are things that all of us need to think about and have in place as we get older.”
Terry says his favorite part of the conference was being able to meet new people and reunite with the friends he’s made there in years past.
“I’ve met people from Pennsylvania, New York, Wyoming, California, practically anywhere you can think of,” he says. “Once you go to the national conference, you always look forward to going back. That’s why I’ll be seeing everyone again in San Antonio next year.”
June 30, 2018
M-Power Helps Set Record at 2018 Legapalooza Amputee Fundraiser
The M-Power team joined hundreds of amputees and supporters from across the U.S. earlier this month for the annual Legapalooza fundraiser benefitting the Dallas Amputee Network (DAN). We’re proud to announce that this year’s event raised more than $57,000 to benefit the many worthwhile programs provided by DAN, the nation’s largest independent amputee support group.
This is the most money raised at a single Legapalooza fundraiser in its nine-year partnership with DAN. Overall, Legapalooza founder and longtime M-Power client Tommy Donahue has helped collect more than $250,000 to help local amputees and their families. M-Power is an original sponsor of both DAN and Legapalooza.
Tommy Donahue interviewed by the local TV-news during Legapalooza
“I’d like to thank everyone who came out to make Legapalooza such an outstanding success,” says Tommy. “None of this would be possible without the people who donated and bought auction items, our dedicated group of volunteers, and all the great folks who supported us in other ways. Our goal is to make next year’s event even bigger and better.”
This was the first year that Legapalooza has been held since the sudden passing of DAN founder Ellen Fernandes last year. Ellen was recognized at the event by Tommy and many others who have continued her pledge to help amputees make “lemonade from lemons.”
Team M-Power keeping it cool at Legapalooza.
The M-Power team was on hand to visit with our clients and assist with the live and silent auctions that included everything from autographed sports memorabilia to resort vacation packages. Our group also was responsible for providing educational materials and much-needed cardboard fans with the company logo, which helped everyone stay cool during a beautiful day that turned out to be a little warmer than expected.
The money raised at Legapalooza once again will help DAN send more members to the Amputee Coalition National Conference than any other amputee support group in the country. The funds also will help support DAN’s Certified Peer Visitor program and the group’s many other efforts to help amputees improve their lives.
It’s not too early to begin planning for next year’s Legapalooza, which is scheduled to take place on June 3, 2019, at Milo Butterfingers Bar & Grill in Dallas. In the meantime, you can always support DAN by contacting them through their website (www.dallasamputeenetwork.com) or by calling 972-470-0505.
April 27, 2018
Meet M-Power Client Fatma Hegic
When she moved to the United States from southeastern Europe nearly 20 years ago, Fatma Hegic was determined to escape the financial and political turmoil in her home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since becoming an M-Power client last year, Fatma has continued to make great strides to find her independence.
Fatma arrived in Dallas with her daughter to join family members who had previously emigrated to the U.S. While adjusting to living in a new country, Fatma also was dealing with a previously diagnosed autoimmune rheumatic disease called scleroderma.
Scleroderma is a chronic condition that causes a hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues. More women than men are diagnosed with the disease, which can restrict blood flow and lead to amputation.
That’s what happened to Fatma, who endured 13 amputation surgeries from 2001 through 2016, including the removal of her right arm below the elbow, portions of her fingers on her left hand, and her left leg below the knee.
Despite spending many long hours in surgery, recovery and physical rehab, Fatma says she always was thinking about moving forward.
“Don’t ever give up, keep fighting,” Fatma says. “If you keep thinking positively, you can accomplish anything.”
Overcoming Insurance Struggles
After being dissatisfied with the results of her arm amputation, Fatma began working with Dr. Matthew Pompeo, the Medical Director at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Wound Care Clinic in Dallas. Fatma says Dr. Pompeo “changed her life.”
After her right leg was amputated at Presbyterian, Fatma began preparing for a new prosthetic. Unfortunately, after seven months of recovery that was hampered by a fall, she was told that her insurance would not cover a new device.
“She was heartbroken,” says Helena Arnold, Fatma’s daughter. “We both were very upset and cried all day that day. We had waited so long.”
Fatma and Helena say they were told that they should apply to the state Medicaid program for help, but that it could be months or longer before Fatma might receive a new device.
Still reeling from the news, Fatma explained her insurance problem to M-Power prosthetist Steve Molina during a follow-up visit. Steve soon began looking for solutions with M-Power founder and managing partner Amy Mehary. Together, they introduced Fatma to the incredible team at Limbs for Life, a global nonprofit group that is dedicated to providing fully-functional prosthetic care for people who cannot otherwise afford it.
“It was God opening doors,” says Fatma, who was approved for a new device in less than a month.
Finding Her Independence
Dr. Pompeo and Fatma
Under the care of Dr. Pompeo and M-Power, Fatma began a six-week rehab process while still in the hospital. After she was discharged and continued her rehab, which is still ongoing, Fatma was able to abandon the wheelchair that had been her only means of mobility.
Her mother’s determination to walk on her own caused a few bumps at first, says Helena.
“She said she felt like she was born again, and she was so excited to drive again,” she says. “In fact, she was a little overzealous in rehab, so we had to ask her to scale it back a little bit at the beginning.”
Fatma then began walking with the assistance of a walker, living independently, and driving wherever she wanted.
“I feel like I have a new life,” Fatma says. “Even if I was to have another amputation, I would keep fighting. I truly believe that if you’re negative, you’re not going to be able to surpass the challenges you may be facing.”
Her advice for other amputees is simple, inspiring and to the point: “The most important thing is to not give up. You are able to overcome all this. You are not alone.”
At M-Power, we are proud and privileged to work with Fatma Hegic and her family. Despite her physical and financial struggles, we were able to work together to find a solution that will benefit her for years to come. As she will tell you herself, Fatma’s fighting spirit and determination are the fuel that will power her continuing journey to find her independence!
March 31, 2018
Chad DeAtley – Helping M-Power Clients Find Their Independence!
When he joined M-Power Prosthetics & Orthotics nine years ago, Chad DeAtley was already used to getting his hands dirty based on his prior work building sets for photo and video shoots.
Today, as our lab manager and lead technician, Chad uses many of the same skills he relied on as a set builder to design and create prosthetics and orthotics for M-Power clients. Although he doesn’t like being called an artist, it’s not difficult to imagine some of his creations shining under the museum lights based on how they look and work.
“Most of my experience before I joined M-Power lent me the ability to do what I do for our patients every day,” says Chad, who lives in Dallas with his wife and their two sons.
When Chad first got to know M-Power founder Amy Mehary at a daycare where both families’ children were enrolled, she told him she believed his skills were perfectly suited for a career in prosthetic design and construction. Before long, he put down his hammer and nails and joined our team.
“In the beginning I had no experience. I started as an orthotic technician and worked my way up,” he says.
In the years since, Chad has dedicated himself to producing quality prosthetics and orthotics for practically every M-Power patient while learning from other technicians and earning multiple certifications through professional training.
Day in the Life
Chad spends most of his days at work shuttling back and forth between our lab and meeting with other team members to make sure all projects stay on track. He typically meets with clients during their first fitting to make sure he knows them personally and can hear their stories.
“It’s important to me to put a face to the name,” Chad says.
After a patient is fitted with a casting, Chad takes over by building a plaster mold that is used to build a test socket, also called a “check socket.”
From there, he uses the plastic check socket to create a temporary limb. If the temporary device fits properly, Chad then moves on to the fabrication process by deciding which materials will work best based on a patient’s weight, height, lifestyle, and other factors.
For prosthetic legs, Chad uses a carbon fiber weave and a special type of Fiberglas to cover the pre-fitted mold. Once that is done, he coats the device in epoxy resin under a controlled vacuum that hardens the leg before it cures for four to six hours. Once the device is sufficiently hardened, it is sanded, grinded and formed before additional components are installed, such as an electronic knee or foot.
The entire process usually takes a week or less, Chad says, and the results are what keep him coming back to help other patients.
“Seeing people walk for the first time, it really resonates’” he says. “It’s very emotional.”
From Music to Magic
When Chad isn’t building new devices for patients, you might find him playing bass guitar in one of several bands. A touring musician before he began raising a family, he says his concerts are fewer and farther between these days.
But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get the occasional message on Facebook from a fan of one of his former bands, Doosu, which had a song featured on the soundtrack for the American release of the wildly popular Japanese animated movie series “Dragon Ball Z.”
“I get messages from kids in their 20s who think we’re Led Zeppelin,” he says, laughing.
But Chad admits his rock-and-roll days are largely behind him, which is just fine. Now, he’s spending more time with his family, including helping his son complete a project on prosthetics, and helping M-Power clients find their independence.
“When you see someone use their new device for the first time, you can see the elation on their face,” Chad says. “As we say around here, ‘That’s the drug.’ It’s what keeps you coming back.”
Feburary 28, 2018
New Law Will Help More People Find Their Independence!
Current and prospective orthotic and prosthetic patients earned a huge victory on Feb 9 with a change to federal law that will make it much easier for patients to get a new device.
The recent revision to the Social Security Act now allows the clinical notes prepared by orthotists and prosthetists such as M-Power to be part of a patient’s official medical record. That means that your orthotist’s or prosthetist’s recommendations regarding medical necessity must be considered by Medicare when submitting a claim for a new device.
In addition to making it easier for people to obtain orthotics or prosthetics, the new rule is expected to reduce the backlog of claims currently under audit by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The change also is expected to curtail the amount of fraud among unlicensed providers of orthotic and prosthetic care.
The notes produced by orthotists and prosthetists were included as part of patients’ official medical records until 2011, when CMS changed its policy. Since then, M-Power has worked alongside patients’ rights groups, concerned politicians and others to restore the common-sense approach that recently was signed into law.
More Work to Be Done
Even though current and future patients will benefit from the new rule, there are many important provisions in the pending Medicare Orthotics and Prosthetics Improvement Act of 2017 that have yet to be passed and signed into law, including:
- Ensuring that military veterans can receive care from their chosen provider;
- Making sure than orthotics and prosthetics remain an Essential Health Benefit; and
- Preventing the expansion of off-the-shelf orthoses.
The first day of the event will include up-to-date briefings on critical issues impacting the O&P community and how to effectively lobby members of Congress. AOPA members will spend the second day meeting with elected representatives and their staff to highlight the important issues addressed in the proposed legislation.
You can show your support for the Medicare O&P Improvement Act by contacting your elected representatives. In Texas, Senator John Cornyn’s office in Washington, D.C., can be reached at 202-224-2934. Phone calls tend to make a bigger impact than emails, but you can also send him an email or contact his Texas offices on his official website here: https://www.cornyn.senate.gov/contact. Senator Ted Cruz’s D.C. office can be reached at 202-224-5922, and his official website is here: https://www.cruz.senate.gov.
To locate the contact information for the Texans elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, click here.
Make your voice heard today to help others Find Their Independence!
January 30, 2018
Photo: Jennifer Leal of Texas Health Dallas
Jennifer Leal: Helping Amputees Find Their Independence
In her role with the Outpatient Rehab Services department at Texas Health Dallas, Jennifer “Jenni” Leal has been helping amputees find their independence for nearly 20 years.
A licensed Physical Therapist who earned her Clinical Doctorate degree in 2016, Jenni spends most of her time assisting amputees both before and after they receive their prosthetic devices. The professionals at M-Power and many of our clients have worked with Jenni for years.
“I met (M-Power founder and managing partner) Amy Mehary shortly after M-Power opened in the early 1990s,” Jenni says. “Both our jobs are to help people reach their goals.”
Like the M-Power team, Jenni stays on top of the latest developments in prosthetics and amputee care by regularly attending continuing education seminars and working with some of the newest products available, including devices with microprocessors.
Jenni says one of the services Texas Health Dallas provides for amputees is identifying their mobility predictors and conducting functional testing to determine their all-important K-Level scores, which are used by Medicare and insurance companies to indicate a patient’s rehabilitation potential. Medicare, like many insurers, wants to make sure that a person can effectively use a prosthetic before issuing payment.
According to the Amputee Coalition, K-Level scores, which range from 0 to 4, include:
Level 0 – Patient cannot move around safely with or without assistance. Very few patients at this level will receive a prescription for a prosthesis.
Level 1 – Patient has the ability or potential to use a prosthesis for general movement on level surfaces.
Level 2 – Patient has the ability or potential to handle low-level environmental barriers such as stairs, curbs or other uneven surfaces.
Level 3 – Patient has the ability or potential to navigate most environmental barriers with a variable walking cadence. People who are at this level may require a prosthetic device for their job or to assist with therapeutic or exercise activities.
Level 4 – Patient has the ability or potential for prosthetic ambulation that exceeds basic ambulation skills. Those at this level typically include children, active adults and athletes.
Along with the other professionals at Texas Health Dallas, Jenni relies on the Amputee Mobility Predictor (AMP) model created by Dr. Robert S. Gailey Jr. at the University of Miami Health System. This model can determine the K-Level score for any amputee, including those who are already using prosthetic devices. Jenni is the only physical therapist that uses the AMP model.
The process involves roughly 20 different tests/exercises that include measuring a patient’s standing balance, the quality of their walking cadence, whether they can stand from a seated position, and other factors. The higher the level of mobility, the higher the K-Level score.
Jenni also conducts functional assessments for amputees and other patients to help determine the level of their disability. This assessment is important, Jenni says, because it allows patients to clearly see where they are in terms of mobility and what they need to do to improve their mobility to receive a prosthesis or ambulate on their own without an assistive device.
Additional Services for Amputees
In addition to mobility predictors and functional assessments, Jenni and her colleagues at Texas Health Dallas also provide many other services aimed at helping amputees find their independence.
That includes consulting with those who are facing amputation so they can be best prepared for the road to recovery. The M-Power team often works directly with Jenni and our clients when creating their prosthetic devices.
Jenni notes that Texas Health Dallas also provides a state-of-the-art Lite Gait device that helps patients suspend their weight and keeps them from falling when they are performing walking exercises. She also uses parallel bars to help people who are trying to improve their walking ability as they recover.
Although many patients spend only a short time with Jenni, she sees others on a regular basis to help them improve their mobility and adjust to new prosthetics. She is always on the lookout for any issues that can lead to bigger problems down the road.
“If a person is experiencing any type of deficit, we want them to get checked out,” Jenni says. “That doesn’t always mean an issue with their prosthetic, however. It could be something as simple as having a back pain, but that may be a sign for later trouble because your body reacts differently as an amputee.”
At M-Power, we are proud to work with dedicated people like Jenni, who are committed to patient care and helping patients make the most out of their lives regardless of their circumstances. Hats off to Jenni and Texas Health Dallas for all their wonderful work!
December 29, 2017
Meet M-Power Client Juan Galvez
When Juan Galvez and his family came to M-Power a little more than a year ago, they were determined to help him regain his mobility and find his independence after spending years confined to a wheelchair.
Juan, his wife Maria and their children, Juan and Marisol, were introduced to M-Power in late 2016 by a family friend who knew about their unique situation. Juan had undergone life-saving surgery five years earlier that resulted in the amputation of both his legs below the knee and his fingers on both hands. The procedure was required after Juan suffered a severe staph infection while working at a local restaurant.
Unable to work following his surgery, Juan spent most of his time staying indoors at the family’s apartment. As a result, the Galvez family faced a variety of care-related and financial struggles.
Setting Goals with M-Power
That’s when their friend Darlene Buhl recommended Juan contact M-Power after consulting with the Limbs for Life Foundation, the all-star non-profit group dedicated to providing fully-functional prosthetic care for people who cannot otherwise afford it.
Juan worked closely with M-Power founder Amy Mehary and prosthetist Steve Molina to develop his prosthetics, Juan received his new devices in March and soon began walking on his own for the first time in years.
“My husband is so happy with his new legs and we appreciate the kindness we were shown by Steve and everyone at M-Power,” Maria says. “Although we were nervous at first, we soon became excited after the process was explained to us. We are so thankful that Juan can now walk again.”
New Prosthetics Bring Mobility
Juan was very motivated to walk on his own after receiving his new prosthetics. He grew more and more confident after practicing walking at home. When he saw his overall health improve, Juan decided to no longer rely on his wheelchair and began using his new legs exclusively every day.
His dedication paid off in late November when Juan was able to walk alongside his daughter Marisol for her Quinceañera celebration organized by their friend Darlene and others at Scofield Memorial Church, including Amy Thorn, Julie Bovenkamp, Shanna Housley, and their incredible Youth Group.
Above: Juan Galvez with daughter Marisol and wife Maria.
“I had never seen my daughter and wife look more beautiful,” Juan says. “I had tears in my eyes and an overflowing heart throughout the evening.”
Above: Marisol Galvez.
Moving Forward with Independence
Juan is continuing to use a walker, but he says he wants to eventually walk unassisted using only his new prosthetics. He also has a new goal to attend the high school graduation ceremonies for both his daughter and son.
“I know I must continue to manage my health and nutrition going forward so I can also witness their college graduations,” he says.
At M-Power, we are proud to have been able to work with the Galvez family and the good people at the Limbs for Life Foundation to help Juan realize his dreams and find his independence!
November 30, 2017
Plan Now to Maximize 2018 Insurance Benefits
With the New Year closely approaching, now is the time for M-Power clients and everyone who uses a prosthetic or orthotic device to get more familiar with your insurance plans headed into 2018.
One key consideration is your deductible amount, which is crucial to planning your annual care. A deductible is the amount you pay for covered health care services before your insurance policy benefits kick in. For example, if your policy has a $2,000 deductible, then you pay the first $2,000 of covered services yourself. After your deductible is met, you usually pay only a copayment or coinsurance for covered services, and your insurance company pays the rest.
Knowing your policy details is important since some insurance plans only pay for certain services before you have met your deductible, such as preventive-care checkups or disease-management programs. Family plans often include both an individual deductible, which applies to each person, and a family deductible, which applies to all family members.
Copayments and coinsurance payments are not the same thing. A copay is the fixed amount you pay toward a covered health care service after you’ve paid your deductible. For example, say your health plan allows $150 for a routine doctor visit with a $25 copay. If you have paid your deductible, then you would typically pay only $25 when you see your doctor. If you haven’t met your deductible, then you pay the full $150.
It is important to note that visits for orthotic and prosthetic care are not subject to copay amounts. At M-Power, we bill insurers for the devices we provide, which includes all costs associated with materials, routine office visits, adjustments and repairs. If your device is out of warranty, there may be a labor charge, but typically there are no out-of-pocket costs associated with a visit to an orthotic or prosthetic clinic.
Coinsurance is the percentage of costs for a covered health care service that you pay after you’ve paid your deductible. Obviously, coinsurance is particularly important when determining the cost for your prosthetic or orthotic care.
For example, let’s presume you have an insurance plan that allows $10,000 for your device and includes a $2,000 deductible, a 25 percent coinsurance payment, and a $5,000 out-of-pocket maximum.
If your deductible has not been met, then you would pay the first $2,000. You also would be responsible for 25 percent of the remaining $8,000 in coinsurance, an additional $2,000. That means your out-of-pocket costs would be $4,000 (your deductible plus your coinsurance).
When you meet your yearly out of pocket maximum, your insurance company should pay for all covered services during the rest of your plan year. A deductible is not the same as copay, which is a fixed amount that you must pay a health care provider before your policy benefits kick in. A deductible is the amount your insurer requires before your policy will help pay for durable medical equipment such as prosthetics and orthotics .
If you have already met your deductible for 2017, we recommend taking inventory to make sure you have all the essentials such as socks, liners, etc. Doing so now can put more money in your pocket headed into the New Year.
For Medicare patients, another change is coming in April 2018, when you’ll be receiving new Medicare cards that will no longer include your Social Security number. This change is being made to help protect Medicare cardholders from having their personal information stolen for fraud or other illegal uses.
At M-Power, we realize that insurance represents a big concern for many of our clients, which is why our team is always prepared to talk with you about any issues you might be facing. You should never let concerns about out-of-pocket costs delay your care. Please contact our office to see if there is an option available to help manage your costs, and we’ll do our best to make sure you get the answers you need.
October 31, 2017
Steven Molina - Helping M-Power Patients Find Their Indendence.
Many of us don’t find our true careers until we complete our education or sometime after that, but M-Power’s Steve Molina knew he wanted to help people beginning at an early age.
As a middle school student, Steve watched New York Jets football player Dennis Byrd walk on the field only a year after neck injury left him paralyzed. Inspired by Byrd’s story, Steve began working toward a career in physical therapy before graduating from Dallas Skyline High School.
Steve’s career path took an unexpected turn in junior college when his father had sold a car to the dean of the UT Southwestern Medical College, and scheduled Steve to visit the school’s physical therapy program.
As luck would have it, Steve learned that his father inadvertently set up a tour of the college’s Prosthetics-Orthotics Program, but he decided to make the trip anyway.
After taking the tour, Steve asked the clinicians at UT Southwestern one question: “So you get paid to get dirty and build things?” When the answer was “yes,” Steve did some research and changed his major. After completing all the requirements, he was admitted to the school and earned a degree in prosthetics and orthotics in 2004.
Since then, Steve has earned Board Certification in prosthetics and orthotics from the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics while helping countless people find their independence. He’s been serving patients at M-Power since 2016.
“One of our core values at M-Power is transparency,” Steve says. “We want patients to be aware of everything we do. Starting with our initial evaluation, we lay out a plan, walk them through the process, and follow through until they are properly fit. We have nothing to hide, and we only want the best outcome possible for the people who trust us to help them.”
Steve’s Role at M-Power
Steve spends roughly 80 percent of his time helping M-Power clients with their prosthetics. Along with company founder Amy Mehary, Steve meets with every patient on their first visit to hear what they have to say and learn more about how M-Power can help.
For new prosthetic clients, Steve conducts an initial consultation and evaluation to determine their needs and talk about the process. If someone comes to M-Power from another facility, Steve says it’s important to listen to the reasons why they’re looking for a new clinician and hear about the issues they’re facing with their prosthetic.
Famous for his note-taking, Steve develops a personalized plan for every M-Power client to make sure they know about every step before it happens and they come away satisfied with the finished product. He says most patients, depending on the circumstances, can expect a new prosthetic within three weeks from their first visit.
“The work we do really does help people find their independence, and it’s the basis of our reputation,” he says. “We don’t want anyone walking out our door who wouldn’t come back again or recommend us to their friends and family.”
Steve also stresses the importance of follow-up visits to make sure devices are fitted properly. He says most prosthetics can be fitted within two visits, but he always asks patients to not wait to call M-Power’s offices if there’s a problem, even if it’s after hours.
Steve fitting a Prosthetic device with a M-Power Client
Steve stays on top of the latest developments in prosthetics and orthotics by constantly reading industry publications, attending continuing education seminars and meeting with manufacturers to review the newest devices.
He also is a regular at the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association’s annual convention, which includes additional course study focusing on the most up-to-date techniques and high-tech materials.
Today, Steve says he’s looking forward to seeing how new developments in technology will continue to benefit patients and increase their mobility.
“There are a lot of fascinating areas being explored in our industry right now, but I’m most excited about the growing use of microprocessor components for both prosthetic and orthotic patients,” he says. “I’m looking forward to using these advancements to help a lot of people in the coming months and years.”
September 29, 2017
Meet Powerhouse M-Power Client Dan Nunnelly
When Dan Nunnelly and wife, Amber, moved to Texas earlier this year, one of Dan’s first goals was to find a new prosthetist.
Soon after arriving in the Dallas area, he attended the annual Legapalooza fundraiser benefitting the Dallas Amputee Network, and met M-Power prosthetist and orthotist Steve Molina for the first time.
They quickly struck up a conversation about how Dan could improve the performance of his prosthetic. Dan says he immediately knew that Steve was the type of person who he wanted working for him.
“Steve was actually excited about helping me, and he listened to what I was saying,” Dan says. “I’d much rather work with someone who is interested in exactly what I want and need rather than simply telling me what they think I want to hear.”
A longtime motorcycle enthusiast, Dan was working for a Harley-Davidson dealership in Phoenix in 2014 when he was broadsided by an SUV driver who ran a red light. The crash required the amputation of Dan’s left leg below the knee, and he also suffered a broken neck, nerve damage and other injuries that required extensive recovery.
Once out of the hospital, Dan took his rehabilitation a step further by working to become a strength athlete. His success in the weight room spurred Dan to begin entering Strongman competitions. Now he’s set to take on another strength sport as a powerlifter.
Even though strength sports are a rare choice for most amputee athletes, and despite using a prosthetic designed only for walking, Dan plowed ahead. He soon began entering Strongman competitions in the Phoenix area and scoring better results than many of his competitors, including both amputees and non-amputees.
“I really found my home in the strength community,” Dan says. “Here, it’s not what you can’t do, it’s what can you do.”
M-Power Client Dan Nunnelly with Lee Small in England.
Bigger, Better, Stronger
After working with M-Power to create a new prosthetic built for the rigors of his sporting pursuits and designed specifically for him, Dan has redoubled his efforts to compete with the best.
His can-do attitude will be on display again next month when Dan competes in the U.S. Powerlifting Association’s 2017 meet during the Europa Games in Phoenix. Dan says he will be the only amputee athlete in the competition, and that’s fine with him.
Although he has participated in many events for so-called “disabled” athletes, Dan says he’s happy to compete against anyone.
“I’m able to do the same movements as everybody else in these competitions, so I don’t feel like I deserve any special consideration,” he says. “Why I would want to take a spot in an amputee event that somebody else deserves?”
It’s hard to argue with Dan’s logic when you consider he regularly bench presses more than 400 pounds and deadlifts more than 500 pounds. He says he draws inspiration from fellow amputee powerlifter KC Mitchell of California, who became the first amputee to compete in a full U.S. Powerlifting Association meet this past January, and Lee Small of England, who won the World’s Strongest Disabled Man title in 2015 and became friends with Dan when they went up against each other the following year at the same meet.
Dan greets fans after a strongman competition in Manchester, England.
Dan’s considerable exhibitions of strength have earned him a bit of internet fame as a strength athlete on his YouTube channel “Dead Leg Dan” (subscribe here) and a recent ambassadorship with the California-based sportswear company FRēK (www.frekware.com), including an image of Dan on the company’s Instagram page.
Now at 39 years old, Dan says he’s looking forward to his next birthday so he can compete in the Masters division, which includes athletes 40 years old and older.
“I’m in the open division now, and there are some monsters in those meets,” Dan says. “It will be nice to go up against people my same age.”
Dan wins first place truck-pulling title at the 2016 World's Strongest Disabled Man Competition in Manchester, England. He finished 6th overall.
August 29, 2017
M-Power Client Lauren Roerick Finds Her Independence
Dallas resident and M-Power client Lauren Roerick has been exceeding expectations and finding her independence since losing a portion of her right arm and left leg in a 2012 car accident.
She arrived at the hospital with no pulse and was moments away from being pronounced dead before her body responded to a third, and final, blood transfusion. Although she was expected to be unconscious for days or weeks, Lauren was awake within 24 hours.
But rather than having the very normal response of being sad or angry, Lauren says she felt unexpectedly calm and began planning for the challenging work in recovery that would follow. In the years since, she learned a valuable lesson that becomes more important every day.
“You are not your limb,” Lauren says. “Disability is a state of mind.”
Overcoming the Odds
Photo Credit Diane Webster
Lauren’s story is about perseverance, overcoming the odds and making time for fun along the way. We began helping Lauren at M-Power shortly after she and her husband, Justin, moved back to Dallas from Lubbock with their two daughters in 2015.
In addition to maintaining a full-time job at The Time Group in Dallas, working toward her degree in applied rehabilitative psychology, and raising her beautiful girls, Lauren recently took on the role of runway model at a Dallas fashion show benefitting Genesis Women’s Shelter, which provides safety, shelter and support for women victims of domestic violence.
Lauren on the Runway
The fundraiser sponsored by the popular Dallas restaurant Asian Mint featured an all-star cast, including emcee Isiah Stanback, the former Dallas Cowboy standout and Super Bowl champion, and a roster of professional athletes’ wives and Asian Mint staffers who served as models alongside Lauren.
What's a Fashion Show without a Selfie?
“It was an incredible experience that helped a lot of people,” Lauren says. “It’s just another example that you can do anything you want if you’re determined.”
In addition to her professional life, Lauren spends a lot of time helping other amputees through her membership in the Dallas Amputee Network, the nation’s largest amputee support group, and Dallas’ Adaptive Training Foundation, whose mission is to redefine the limits of individuals with disabilities. She also is a Certified Peer Volunteer with the Amputee Coalition of America.
Lauren says the “tunnel vision” she developed during the initial stages of her recovery is the same thing that led her to become a force for change for her special needs daughter’s school. In addition to taking on the responsibility of creating and directing an after-school program devoted to dance for special needs students, she also became the first-ever Special Needs Representative for the local PTA.
“My daughters are the most important things in my life, and I can’t imagine not doing everything I can to make their lives better,” she says.
At M-Power, we are proud to work with Lauren as she continues her undeniable and powerful journey. Her commitment to recovery, dedication to family and desire to help others is a great example for everyone to FIND YOUR INDEPENDENCE!
July 27, 2017
Lemonade from Lemons: Remembering DAN Founder Ellen Fernandes
The amputee community has lost a true shining light with the recent passing of Ellen Fernandes, the Founder and Director of the Dallas Amputee Network (DAN). Many of us have heard Ellen’s inspiring story of how she decided to make “lemonade from the lemons I had been handed” after losing her right leg in a motorcycle accident in 2000.
Ellen passed away on July 24 after a courageous battle with serious health issues. Her husband Jerry and her family are currently making related arrangements.
Soft-spoken but always a fighter, Ellen was back at her full-time job within three weeks of her accident and quickly began laying the groundwork for launching DAN as a support group that would be fun, inspirational and helpful. M-Power founder Amy Mehary and Ellen have been friends since the very first DAN meeting in 2002, when there were fewer than 10 people in attendance.
Since then, Ellen became an M-Power client and DAN has grown to more than 280 members to become the largest non-profit amputee support group in the nation.
One of the many reasons for DAN’s success can be found in Ellen’s dedication to making sure amputees could come together in social settings rather than simply seeing each other at the doctor’s office. “Usually, the only time an amputee sees another amputee is in the clinical setting and that is not the best place to connect with one another because you are usually in pain, anxious or afraid,” she told InMotion magazine shortly after founding DAN.
Over the years, Ellen convinced countless amputees to help others by becoming Certified Peer Visitors. Today, Ellen’s legacy continues with DAN’s support of the amputee community through peer visits, monthly support group meetings, educational resources and information on the latest advancements in prosthetics.
Ellen also was key in promoting Legapalooza, DAN’s largest annual fundraiser founded by M-Power client Tommy Donahue. During the past eight years, Legapalooza has raised nearly $200,000 to benefit DAN and the group’s members, including a record $55,000 this year. The money raised will help DAN send more than 40 members to this year’s Amputee Coalition National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. DAN has more members attending this year’s conference than any other amputee support group in the country.
In Ellen’s memory, we at M-Power are renewing our support for DAN and we invite you to do the same. You can contact Tommy Donahue about contributing your time or a donation to DAN or Legapalooza by filling out the form here.
June 7, 2017
M-Power, Hundreds of Supporters Unite for Legapalooza Fundraiser
The entire M-Power team is extremely proud to have joined many of our clients and hundreds of supporters for the annual Legapalooza fundraiser benefitting the Dallas Amputee Network (DAN), the largest amputee support group in the nation. This year’s event took place the first Sunday in June and it was easily the biggest in the Legapalooza history both in terms of money raised and the number of people who stepped up to help.
Above: Tommy Donahue with the M-Power team
Dozens of amputees, their families and well-wishers traveled from across the U.S. to join us at Milo Butterfingers restaurant and bar in Dallas for a fun-filled day dedicated to he
lping improve the lives of amputees through DAN’s many beneficial programs.
The final numbers are still being tallied, but it looks like the 2017 edition of Legapalooza raised more than $50,000 for DAN, which hosts monthly meetings, arranges peer visits and provides other resources to assist amputees in the Dallas area. The event has generated nearly $200,000 overall during the past eight years to help DAN and the group’s members.
Above: Tommy Donahue with M-Power's Amy Mehary
Legapalooza founder and M-Power client Tommy Donahue once again did an incredible job alongside a top-flight team of volunteers who worked tirelessly to create an unforgettable day. The impressive collection of donated auction items included luxury trips to the California wine country and golf resorts; autographed memorabilia featuring Hollywood actors, major recording stars and some of the world’s top athletes; gift certificates to some of the area’s top restaurants; and much more.
One of the day’s many memorable moments came when recent amputee Joey Wattigney took the stage to share his story of how the support fromDAN has helped him FIND HIS INDEPENDENCE. Joey bravely told everyone how he lost his right leg in December after being struck while riding his motorcycle when a pickup driver ran a stop sign. While still in recovery, he first learned about DAN after avisit from Tommy Donahue as part of the DAN Peer Visitor program. His story was another reminder of the important role that DAN plays in the lives of countless amputees.
Above: Joey Wattigney is greeted by Tommy Donahue
Everyone in attendance also was extremely touched by another moment when M-Power client Sandy Seibert won the “50/50” raffle, which would have put more than $500 in her pocket for her trip home to Alabama. Instead, in an act of pure selflessness, Sandy donated her winnings to DAN. What a classy lady.
M-Power is a proud to be an original sponsor of both the Dallas Amputee Network and Legapalooza. We are honored to support them and be a small part of helping those in the amputee community FIND THEIR INDEPENDENCE!
Above: D.A.N. members in attendance assemble for their annual Legapalooza photo
Best Wishes for Eric Kottner
M-Power is excited to announce that Chris Mehary, our co-founder, has assumed the role of Patient Care Coordinator after taking over for Eric Kottner, who is moving back to Florida. Good luck, Eric!
Chris has already hit the ground running after working alongside Eric for years, and he is dedicated to providing the same attention to detail and understanding of patient needs that define M-Power.
Chris will continue working with our clients and the many doctors, therapists, rehabilitation directors, clinicians, front office personnel and others who have come to rely on us a trusted partner. If you haven’t already met Chris, we invite you to contact him by phone (214-280-9020) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions about your care or if there is anything we can do to help.
May 2, 2017
Finding Independence in Washington DC
M-Power Client, Amputee Coalition Lobby for Change on Capitol Hill
As part of the national Amputee Coalition’s recognition of Limb Loss Awareness Month during April, M-Power client Linda Walls joined over 35 other amputee advocates on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to help educate legislators about the many key issues impacting the amputee community. Linda is a transtibial amputee who has relied on a prosthesis since October 2015. Learn more about her personal journey here.
Linda jumped at the opportunity to join the Amputee Coalition’s “Hill Days” because, as she says, “The determination of appropriate prosthetic care should be completed by the patient and their medical team, not insurance companies.” Linda and other members of the group sat down with many lawmakers and their staff to talk about:
- Insurance Fairness for Amputees Act
- Healthcare Reform
- Local Coverage Determination Clarification Act
- Support for programs and research for the limb loss and limb difference community
Anyone who has ever faced an insurance coverage denial or dealt with coverage caps knows about the critical challenges facing the amputee community. Fortunately, you do not have to travel all the way to Washington to get involved. The Amputee Coalition has launched Amplify, a new, online initiative to help people with limb loss and limb differences use their collective voice to bring attention to the issues that so many people face with their insurance providers.
The American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists also is making it easier to advocate online with a helpful tool you can find here, which allows you to contact your U.S. Senators directly to ask them to cosponsor the Local Determination Clarification Act (S.794). This important legislation will help ensure basic procedural fairness in LCDs and give a voice to Medicare beneficiaries, providers and suppliers in coverage issues. Make your voice heard!
Another group that’s working to bring about positive change is the Dallas Amputee Network, which will be hosting its annual Legapalooza fundraiser on Sunday, June 4. Join us there to meet Legapalooza founder and longtime M-Power client Tommy Donahue, and learn more about how you can support the amputee community locally and nationwide.
#findyourindependence #amputee #advocacy #amputeecoalition #HillDays #MPowerPO #prosthetic #healthcarereform #Accesstocare
March 30, 2017
Mobility Clinic Helps M-Power Clients Find Their Independence
In late March, our team had the privilege of supporting five clients/athletes from the M-Power family during a running and mobility skills clinic led by Dr. Robert S. Gailey Jr., one of the world’s leading experts on amputee rehabilitation.
Team M-Power joined dozens of participants and volunteers at the University of Texas at Arlington for the Challenged Athletes Foundation Running and Mobility Clinic sponsored by Össur.
Welcomed by a sunny Saturday morning, Dr. Gailey told attendees how he could help them improve their performance and get the most out of their prosthetics while living their lives to the fullest.
After a warmup stretching session, Dr. Gailey and his Miami-based team divided everyone into three groups:
- Challenger Group – Athletes who were running for the first time and wanted to learn the basic biomechanics of running.
- Youth Group – Younger athletes who wanted to improve their mobility and agility based on their favorite sports.
- Performance Group – Those who already knew the basic biomechanics of running but wanted tips and coaching to help boost their performance.
Each group was led through a series of tasks that included an incredible – and incredibly humbling – display of effort, determination and sheer willpower. It was truly one of the most amazing and heartwarming experiences we could have ever imagined.
If you have the chance to participate in a training event led by Dr. Gailey or any clinic hosted by the Challenged Athletes Foundation in the future, then you owe it to yourself to be there. You’ll learn important lessons regardless of your mobility, age or weight. To learn more about the building blocks to running for lower-limb amputees, CLICK HERE.
Athletes preparing with pre-clinic stretches
Foundational Steps- Beginning Running
Dr. Bob Gailey assisting with a morning run
Athletes of all abilities improve their performance
Bilateral performance runner on the move
February 22, 2017
M-Power Client Helps Facebook Launch Friends Day
Many of us were pleasantly surprised when we opened our Facebook pages on Feb. 4 to find cool animations commemorating the very first Friends Day. A creation of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Friends Day is meant to celebrate the important relationships we all enjoy with our friends.
But what many people didn’t realize when Friends Day was announced is that one of the people who made it happen is longtime M-Power client and our friend Tommy Donahue. Tommy was among only a handful of people from across the U.S. to be invited to Facebook’s headquarters in California to personally meet with Mr. Zuckerberg and his team to help launch the first Friends Day.
Many of you know Tommy as the founder and organizer of Legapalooza, the annual charity auction and fundraiser benefitting the Dallas Amputee Network, the largest amputee support group in the U.S.
The Dallas Amputee Network hosts monthly meetings, arranges peer visits and provides other resources to benefit amputees in the Dallas area. The Legapalooza event has raised more than $135,000 to help benefit local amputees in the past seven years alone. Click here for more information on Legapalooza 2017 and be sure to save the date on June 4, 2017, so you can help make a difference.
M-Power is a proud to be an original sponsor of both the Dallas Amputee Network and Legapalooza. The work performed by these two groups and the tireless Tommy Donahue represents an important and meaningful contribution to countless amputees and their families. We are honored to support them and be a small part of helping those in the amputee community FIND THEIR INDEPENDENCE!
January 18, 2017
FIND YOUR INDEPENDENCE from bulky socks.
Sick of chasing a comfortable socket fit with the endless variations of sock ply? We heard you. The M-Power team has been working hard to make innovative, adjustable sockets more easily available!
M-Power is proud to expand our socket design options to include micro-adjustable sockets. This adjustable socket solution, designed and patented by Click Medical, allows prosthetic users to micro-adjust socket fit throughout the day to accommodate fluctuations in limb shape.
Adjustable sockets are an excellent addition to our socket design options and our onsite Fabrication makes it even better for our clients. With our onsite fabrication there are no additional delays and slowdowns typically associated with offsite fabrication. We are consistently striving to expand our knowledge to best serve our clients, especially those that have unique or difficult fittings. This is another example of how M-Power is always seeking avenues to help our clients FIND THEIR INDEPENDENCE.
A micro adjustable socket is an innovative solution that allows patients to quickly adjust socket fit rather than rely on adding socks to their socket. These highly adjustable sockets enable users to fine-tune compression within the socket by using custom, movable panels targeted to specific areas of the limb.
Benefits of this adjustability include:
- Patient “M-Power”-ment: Patients can control the fit of their socket throughout the day as their limb changes thus giving them more control over fit and comfort.
- Adjust Prosthetic Fit on Demand: The adjustable socket technology allows the patient to micro-adjust the volume of the socket with just one hand. Even through Clothes. Click it and forget it!
- Respect of Patient Time: By giving our patients a socket where they can control fit based on daily volume changes the amount of post-delivery adjustments can be dramatically reduced, saving time- often our most valuable asset!
- Ease and Convenience: With a micro adjustable system installed, donning and doffing (putting it on and taking it off) becomes easy. Simply pull the dial with one hand to release.
Ready to #Findyourindependence from socks? Call the office at 214-265-5060 to request a consultation to learn more.
December 16, 2016
The holiday season is upon us...and the New Year is the perfect opportunity to make the changes in your lifestyle you wish you had made last year...last month..heck- even last week! Let's not call these changes, resolutions..those are too easily broken and forgotten... Let's look at these opportunities as pathways to independence.
In 2017, we are challenging the M-Power Prosthetics Family to "FIND YOUR INDEPENDENCE" and reflect on what positive changes you can make in your life. We have compiled some common goals and have paid particular attention to more active living options you can start marking on your calendar today. If you can benefit from effective ways to change your life for the better by getting more involved and more active...keep reading!
Some fun and exciting things around town geared towards active amputees and others with mobility limitations…..
Dallas Amputee Network
- Meets every second Monday of the month at Spring Creek BBQ in Richardson from 6-9pm
- Great way to connect with the amputee community and stay current with all upcoming events.
- They have different fun group outing throughout the month
- There is a social meet-up every third Saturday of the month @ Milo Butterfingers, 5645 SMU Blvd, Dallas. Come out for a casual social outing to enjoy everyone from fellow amputee organizations for some fun conversations.
Adaptive Training Foundation (ATF) @ 2318 Beatrice Street Dallas, TX 75208
- Hardcore 9 week workout program for people ready to sweat.
- Redefine program for those wanting to go to the Paralympics.
Adaptive Climbing Project in Carrolton and is ADA compliant @ 1003 4th Ave, Carrollton, TX 75006
- They meet every Thursday at 7 pm
- Adaptive rock climbing for any level of amputation and disability
Challenged Athletes Foundation
- Organization that helps amputees get funding for sports prosthetics.
- Open enrollment is from September-December every year.
Bachman Lake Recreation Center @ 2750 Bachman Dr, Dallas, TX 75220
- A pool customized for people with disabilities
- Every Saturday from 12-2pm a trainer will work with you on how to swim without your prosthetic
- Cost $5 for non-member each time or pay( $25 for the year membership) and pay $3 each time
- Contact Scott 817-991-5327 based out of DFW
- Amputee basketball
Rise Adaptive Sports (based out of Grapevine)
- Free sports for all disabilities (to name a few: Kayaking, sitting volleyball and adaptive skiing)
- Based out of Grapevine and you need to register on their website for events.
- Big event with live music and lots of fun booths that happens in June every year.
Orthotic and Prosthetic Activities Foundation (OPAF)
- Free events that teach you how to adapt different activities so you can enjoy them again.
- To name a few of the activities: swimming, golfing and scuba diving
- Check the website for event information because they are held throughout the year.
- Grants for activities you want to get back into like horseback riding, hockey, art classes and several others.
- Contact Jennifer 214-549-9473
- Helping wounded veterans get back into sports by providing adaptive sports.
- Contact DR Davis through email: email@example.com
DFW Sled Hockey
Before you begin any strenuous activity, you should talk to your physician about increasing your physical activity and check with your clinician to make sure your device is optimized for the task.
Share your efforts with us on our facebook page as you #findyourindependence!