Robert Weiss is a retired aerospace systems engineer with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from City College of New York and a Master of Science degree from the University of California at Los Angeles. Robert retired from his 41-year employment as aerospace systems engineer and manager to learn about lymphedema and its treatment and to find informed medical care for his wife Pearl, then a 5-year survivor of breast cancer with lymphedema. He became a patient advocate to help Pearl, wending his way through the medical and insurance wilderness where lymphedema was a condition that was mostly unknown, mis-diagnosed, under-treated and under-insured. Bob used the knowledge he gained to become a lymphedema patient advocate and activist and continues to provide assistance to hundreds of cancer survivors and others with this chronic condition.
Robert has completed 80 hours of lymphedema therapy training with the Dr. Vodder School of North America (2003), is a graduate of the National Breast Cancer Coalition Project LEAD (2004) and Quality Care LEAD (2007).
Mr. Weiss is a past member of a Cochrane Collaboration Breast Cancer Group panel performing a systematic review of manual therapy for lymphedema following cancer treatment, Co-Chair of the American Lymphedema Framework Project Insurance and Health Policy Committee and a member of its Steering Committee, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Circle of Hope Lymphedema Foundation. Bob writes for eLymphNotes, StepUp—SpeakOut and many on-line lymphedema lists and Facebook lymphedema groups. He lectures at lymphedema conferences on incidence and prevalence of lymphedema, breast lymphedema, cost-efficacy of lymphedema treatment, insurance, reimbursement and legislation. He has been selected as a "PCORI Merit Reviewer" for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.
In his capacity as an independent patient advocate Bob represents patients appealing denials of lymphedema treatment at Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearings, and has developed an alternative interpretation of the Social Security Act which shows that lymphedema compression bandages, garments and items meet the Medicare requirements for prosthetic devices, and should be covered by Medicare. This logic has been used in over 50 ALJ appeals and has resulted in over 30 ALJ reversals of Medicare denials. Robert has assisted in the drafting and passage of lymphedema treatment laws in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York and Virginia, and wrote the Lymphedema Diagnosis and Treatment Cost-Saving Acts of 2010 and 2011 [H.R. 4662 and H.R. 2499].
Bob is dedicatee of Lymphedema Caregiver's Guide Kearse, McMahon & Ehrlich, San Francisco, CA (2009), and was designated Adjunct Courtesy Faculty, University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing (2011-2012).
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