Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Will my insurance cover care from Cornell O&P?

  • Although COP has provider contracts with most insurance payers, often we find serious coverage limits (especially for prosthetic care). While Medicare, Medicaid and GIC plans are usually adequate, private insurance provided by your employer can be so inadequate that prosthetic care cannot be afforded. O&P coverage is usually under your DME (durable medical equipment) and may have severe restrictions or low annual limits. Our staff will verify your particular coverage before services are rendered (unless urgent care does not allow enough time for verification).

Does Cornell O&P take my particular insurance?

  • Cornell O&P is a provider of many insurance carriers (see list of insurance carriers).

What if I do not live near Peabody, Danvers, Beverly, but want to be seen by Cornell Orthotics & Prosthetics. Will you come to my home?

  • We see patients at any of the numerous clinics we attend around the state(see list). It is difficult to provide our types of O&P services in your home, but there are times when we can make exceptions.

Will I see the same COP practitioner each time I visit the office? Will anyone come to the hospital?

  • Yes, whenever possible. We find continuity of care is appreciated by most patients, and we make every effort to have you see your own prosthetist or orthotist practitioner. We will routinely see patients in the hospital and work collaboratively with hospital staff to coordinate your care.

Can I be seen for an evaluation or follow up without a prescription?

  • Yes, in most cases. If a prescription is needed we will send a letter to your physician describing what is needed.

Orthotics

Is my brace covered by my insurance?

  • Most orthoses are covered by health insurance payers. To be certain, Cornell O&P routinely verifies a client’s insurance coverage and will provide you with a patient financial responsibility letter if there is a portion of the procedure not covered.

Do I need a prescription for my orthotic brace?

  • Yes, for all orthoses a properly worded prescription from your physician is required.

How long does it take to have an orthosis made after my initial visit?

  • Usually, Cornell O&P can fabricate a custom orthosis in one week. Most off-the-shelf devices can be fit the same day.

Prosthetics

I am having an amputation soon. Should I make a pre-surgical appointment?

  • In most cases this is not necessary. However, if you have adequate time or serious concerns about your ensuing prosthetic care, you should not hesitate to make an appointment. Invariably, much of the stress experienced in advance of an amputation is due to not knowing what to expect afterwards. A pre-surgical visit may answer your questions and significantly decrease that stress.

How soon will I be on my feet after my amputation?

  • As soon as you are able. Physical therapy right after surgery usually centers on safe mobility before you receive your prosthesis. Depending on your health and physical ability, most patients work on transfers, getting about with walkers or crutches in the first few days following amputation (See New Amputees).

How soon will I have my prosthesis?

  • This can vary significantly depending on your particular situation. The most important factor in determining this is how fast the limb heals. Often the same circulatory problems that necessitated the amputation can slow the healing process. Sometimes the surgeon will request an immediate prosthesis be applied in the operating room. This prosthesis is not designed for full weight bearing and is replaced in one to two weeks. More often (especially when circulation is a factor), the first prosthesis is applied about the same time the sutures are removed at around four weeks. (See New Amputees)

How functional will I be after I receive my prosthesis? Will I ever hope to play golf and go biking after I have my leg removed?

  • Most people are surprised at what they can do with a prosthesis. Most often these activities are more limited by your general health than any limitations due to the prosthesis.

My right leg is amputated. Can I expect to drive as before or will I need special equipment?

  • Although a few below knee amputees can effectively drive using their prosthesis, in most cases an easily operated left-foot gas pedal can be installed. These are inexpensive and fold out of the way for general use.

Can I speak to someone in my situation? Can you recommend a support group for me?

  • Yes, definitely. We often arrange for new amputees to speak with others who have been though a similar process. Come see us and your personal prosthetist can direct you to support groups in your area and also to organizations such as the ACA (Amputee Coalition of America). View the link to our list of support groups below.
  • (See Support Group)

Health Care Professionals

Physicians

What do I need to write on my prescription? 

  • Most insurances require a simple starting order for us to see your patient. Once they are seen we will provide a detailed order for your signature.
  • Additional documentation is usually required that describes the patient’s condition and need for the device. We will inform you of any specific information that is required.

What are the safety concerns post operatively for amputees before they get their prosthesis?

  • Incidental trauma from falls, bangs or bumps are common. We like to provide a protective non-weight bearing dressing, the PSRD. (See PSRD instructions).

How soon can my patient wear a prosthesis?

  • Typically new amputees should be provided a prosthesis as soon as possible.
  • There can be multiple factors that determine when a prosthesis can be safely tolerated. The suture line should be dry and tolerate partial weight bearing. Transfemoral amputees should tolerate weight bearing on the contralateral side since it is difficult for the transfemoral prosthesis to sit-to-stand. Patients with delayed healing can be appropriate depending on the wound size and location.

Therapists

How can I get information on my patient’s prosthesis?

  • The best way to learn about the specifics of your patient’s prosthesis is to contact the prosthetist who made it. It’s essential for the therapist to understand proper donning and how that particular knee and foot function in order to properly gait train. (put in a picture of a therapist walking a patient, say step over step down stairs.)

Are there observation opportunities?

Nurses

  • What types of wound dressings can be used when wearing a prosthesis?
  • Dressing thickness should be minimal to avoid creating pressure in the socket.
    Barrier dressing such as Tegaderm can be used as well as thin hydrocolloids, oil emulsions or Xeroform or thin foam dressings like Mepilex can be used without causing excessive pressure.