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PLASTIC SURGEONS PRAISE CLINTON'S BENEFITS PACKAGE

 ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons heartily supports the Clinton administration's plan to include all reconstructive surgery in a basic benefits package.
 The legislative draft of the Clinton administration's Health Security Act, released today, included language that incorporates reconstructive plastic surgery in the plan.
 Reconstructive surgery is that which is performed on abnormal structures of the body caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors or disease. It is generally performed to improve function, but may also be done to approximate a normal appearance. This definition is used by the ASPRS and has been adopted by the American Medical Association.
 "We have always defended our patients' right to receive treatment necessary for their physical health and well-being," said Dr. Elvin Zook, president of the ASPRS.
 "If passed, this legislation means that children who are born with a cleft lip and palate will have the right to plastic surgery and would be able to breathe and chew food like normal children. It means that a person who looks different because of a birth defect, a car accident, or cancer, could be treated and their body repaired, without the patient having to worry about who would pay for him or her being able to live a normal life.
 "It means that the more than 1 million people who receive plastic surgery for reconstructive reasons each year, for things such as removal of tumors, treatment of wounds, burn care and reattaching fingers and toes, would not be left out in the cold."
 In addition, several changes in the health care reform plan are welcomed by the ASPRS -- particularly a shift indicating that women who are at a higher risk for contracting breast cancer will be allowed a greater number of mammograms than originally stipulated.
 Further clarification of these changes will be pursued. For example, the determination of criteria for women who are considered high risk for breast cancer must be specified.
 "Our patients should have no obstacles in their path when taking a preventive course to reduce the incidence of breast cancer in their lives," said Dr. Zook. "We are pleased that the Clinton administration agrees with us that when breast cancer does occur and a mastectomy is required, the decision of whether a patient should have her breasts reconstructed should NOT include whether she can afford it."
 Cosmetic surgery, which the ASPRS and the Clinton administration agrees should be left out of the basic coverage, is performed to reshape normal structures of the body to improve the patient's appearance. The bill specifies that cosmetic surgery will not be covered in the basic benefits package.
 The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons comprises 97 percent of all physicians certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Its mission is to promote optimal care for plastic surgery patients through education, research and the advancement of high professional standards.
 -0- 10/27/93
 /CONTACT: Laura Kopulos Asplund of ASPRS, 708-228-9900, ext. 349/


CO: The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons ST: Illinois IN: HEA SU:

TM -- NY135 -- 7633 10/27/93 21:49 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 27, 1993
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