January 20, 2015 - Las Vegas, NV ---Preventive Foot Care Centers of America®, a network of podiatry practices administered by the Las Vegas-based Lower Extremity Amputation Prevention (LEAP) Alliance, today announced a collaboration with Koven Technology, Inc., the nation's leading manufacturer of specialized Doppler ultrasound devices used to detect peripheral artery disease (PAD) in the legs and feet. PAD involves obstruction of the normal blood supply to the lower extremities which can lead to amputations. especially in diabetics.
Koven is helping to fund LEAP Alliance public and health care provider education programs through its sales of the "SmartDop" Doppler ultrasound device and software used to screen for and diagnose PAD. The public education program includes reaching out to primary care physicians who treat diabetic patients and other patients at risk of leg amputations, but often do not have the time or are not trained to provide comprehensive foot examinations that include screening for PAD. Physicians are being urged to refer their diabetic patients to one of the LEAP Alliance’s Preventive Foot Care Centers near them for free PAD screening.
Because persons with PAD often do not know their circulation is impaired, referring patients for foot screening enables its early detection and prompt treatment before complications occur. These complications, such as open skin wounds and infections, are particularly apt to occur in diabetics who are at much higher risk of foot and leg amputations than non-diabetics.
"We know that our partnership with Koven will help us expand this Las Vegas free preventive foot screening program to communities elsewhere," says Las Vegas podiatrist Earl Jacobson, who directs a Preventive Foot Care Center foot screening and treatment clinic.
Another LEAP Alliance partnership is making the Las Vegas free foot screening program possible. Volunteer members of Lions Clubs in the Las Vegas area have formed a Medical Team consisting of those members who have a health care background and non-health professional members who assist them in public health improvement programs. These members are trained and certified by the LEAP Alliance to assist in providing preventive foot screenings. Jacobson is an active member of the Summerlin Lions Club Medical Team, and Summerlin Lions Club member Jeannette Long, a registered nurse, assists him when he performs screenings for PAD.
"The word 'Alliance' in the name LEAP Alliance points out how different persons and groups with different backgrounds, even commercial entities like Koven Technology, are working together to save diabetic limbs," says Lawrence Rubin, director of the LEAP Alliance.
Jacobson says that donating his time to provide free foot screenings gives him a chance to help the community and at the same time, be available to persons who need care of PAD and other foot problems found by the screenings. "Sometimes this can be very frustrating," Jacobson says. "Finding PAD and foot problems that need to be treated, then finding out that the person has Medicaid or other insurance that does not cover the costs involved with special shoes, braces, medications and other podiatric preventive treatment presents a real problem." He offers discounts to persons at risk of serious complications who are not covered by insurance and have to pay themselves, and he even gives pro bono care to uninsured persons with emergency problems that need immediate attention.
"There is only so much time and materials I or any other LEAP Alliance network podiatrist can give away, given the high overhead costs of running a medical office," Jacobson says. Nevada is one of just a few states in which Medicaid will not pay for amputation prevention foot care by a podiatrist. Jacobson says that the solution to this problem would be the Nevada State Legislature making provisions for payment to podiatrists for diabetic amputation prevention services. "It has been proven statistically that preventing amputation is a lot less costly than paying for them, so it is puzzling that the Legislature has not taken action to correct this situation."