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Stephanie Decker urges lawmakers to pass Prosthetic Parity Bill

by Joe Arnold


Posted on February 21, 2013 at 12:00 AM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS 11) -- Stephanie Decker, the mother who lost both legs shielding her children during the Henryville tornado, testified in Frankfort Wednesday.

Earlier in February Decker asked lawmakers to pass a bill called Prosthetic Parity which would ensure amputees get the best prosthetic available.

Decker said Indiana already has a similar law and she is lobbying for the same in Kentucky.

One and a half weeks shy of the first anniversary of the tornado that took her legs when she saved her children outside Henryville, Ind., Stephanie Decker walked the halls of the Kentucky State Capitol -

“There are more stories out there besides mine,” Decker said.

She's fighting for Kentucky amputees who unlike Hoosiers aren’t guaranteed access to the most advanced prosthetic limbs.

 “I don't know what I am going to do.  How am I going to drive? How am I going to live? How am I going to get a leg? What am I going to do?” Terri Ross, a Kentucky amputee, said to Kentucky lawmakers.

 “To be able to get your life back and I expect that. And I assume you would expect that for you, for your children,” Decker said to lawmakers.

Just two weeks ago, Decker, a Frankfort native, single-handedly put "prosthetic parity" on lawmaker’s radar.

 “It's new to me.  I didn't know we didn't have prosthetic parity,” State Representative Steve Riggs (D) said.

When the Ky. House opened its session by honoring Decker for her heroism, Decker seized the opportunity.

 “When I made the statement that I love my home state of Kentucky; however, I’m glad that I lived in Indiana, the place kind of got quiet.  They said, ‘Indiana?’, and I said let me explain,” Decker said.

Other amputees stood behind Decker to back House Bill 376, which would require health benefit plans to cover the most technologically advanced prosthetic leg or arm available.

Kevin Trees is a Louisville Metro Police Sergeant.

 “Had not Matt Hayden, my boss actually loaned me a leg for five years, I would have had to quit the department,” Sgt. Kevin Trees, with the LMPD, said.

 “He has a leg that is inferior to mine.  And he is on the streets risking his life every day. That doesn’t make sense to me,” Decker said.

Louisville Paramedic Joe Riffe returned to his job after a struggle with his insurance company. 
He used Facebook, twitter and blog posts, public pressure to provide a technologically advanced leg.
 “So hopefully they'll start to cover microprocessor knees now.  All insurance companies should cover this type of technology,” Riffe, an amputee, said.

 “My life is back. I still continue to set goals and push forward, learning to run again,” Decker said.

The bill wasn't even written when Decker spoke to the House chamber.  Even though it's just getting started, no one at the capitol is betting against Stephanie Decker.