10-year-old girl helps craft new law expanding coverage for New Mexico prosthetics patients

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A bill to expand coverage for prosthetics patients is now a law in New Mexico with the help of a 10-year-old girl and her family.

The “So New Mexicans Can Move Act” helps ensure coverage for limb loss and limb difference patients getting prosthetic and orthotic devices.

10-year-old Callaway Lewis and her family watched very closely through the 60-day legislative session.

“All of my kids watched the votes and were tuned in on Zoom, waiting to see what was happening, expecting that it would pass but like so excited,” said Laura Lewis, Callaway’s mother.

Callaway and her mother were two of the advocates behind this bill. Doctors amputated Callaway’s leg in 2021.

Still, just like any kid her age, she is more active than ever.

“If I didn’t have the running leg, I wouldn’t be active,” she said.

These devices aren’t cheap. Often, a lack of insurance coverage for them requires patients to pay steep costs out of pocket.

That means many people only have walking legs. Insurance covers these legs, which are functional but not ideal for mobility.

“They give you this walking leg that weighs like 20 pounds and it’s really hard to use,” Callaway described.

Now, as this law goes into effect next year, Callaway, her mom and other advocates really believe change is coming.

“This law applies to anyone being active in the community and so it means that 25,000 more New Mexicans can go out and hike, can go out and run, can go out and bike – all those things that they couldn’t before – because the leg they had wasn’t sufficient to be active without injury,” Laura Lewis said.

While the “So New Mexicans Can Move Act” impacts limb loss and limb difference patients, advocates believe the investment will save money for the state. They say it’ll help address health issues caused by immobility and poor-fitting prosthetics.