At an event held today at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital (Magee), Independence Blue Cross (Independence) announced financial contributions to The Jerry Segal Classic, which benefits Magee patients, to help Magee acquire new Ekso Bionics GT bionic suits for patients with stroke and spinal cord injuries.
Independence had made a $140,000 contribution to The Jerry Segal Classic to support the purchase of one Ekso GT suit to be used at Magee. At the event, Independence President and CEO Dan Hilferty committed to an additional $140,000 contribution to the Jerry Segal Classic for Magee to purchase another suit to help keep up with patient demand for the technology. Hilferty also announced that Independence would launch an associate campaign to raise money for a third new suit.
The Ekso GT is a wearable bionic suit, or exoskeleton, that enables people with paralysis of the lower limbs due to spinal cord injury or stroke to stand up and walk over ground. With the patient providing the balance and proper body conditioning, a physical therapist uses a controller to program the desired walking parameters, such as step length and speed, as well as to control when the device stands, sits and takes a step. Today’s event featured a demonstration of the equipment by Magee patient Cyndi Corcoran and her Magee physical therapist, Elizabeth Watson, PT, DPT, NCS.
“For 80 years, Independence has worked to advance healthcare innovation in the communities we serve through forward-thinking investments and partnerships. That’s why we are glad to support The Jerry Segal Classic which benefits Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, to help offer this amazing technology to patients suffering from stroke and spinal cord injuries,” Hilferty said. “People know the miracles that Magee delivers. As the hometown insurer, Independence will always be there for the Jerry Segal classic and everyone at Magee.”
Magee Rehabilitation specialists have used this advanced technology since 2012, but patient demand for use of the equipment has exceeded its availability. Ekso GT is the first and only robotic exoskeleton to be granted clearance for rehabilitation purposes both for use with patients who have had a stroke as well as those with a spinal cord injury.
“Magee is proud to provide state-of-the-art therapeutic technology to its patients, such as the Ekso GT. The impact of this device on our patients’ self-esteem and emotional wellbeing, in addition to their physical recovery, is incredibly valuable,” Dr. Jack Carroll, president and CEO of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, said. “We are thrilled to expand the robotics offerings at Magee with the support of Independence Blue Cross. Their generous pledge of funding three Ekso GT suits will make a profound difference in the lives of our patients and allow us to reach more people with this important technology.”
About Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Magee Rehabilitation, a member of Jefferson Health and a founding member of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s NeuroRecovery Network, is the Philadelphia region’s original provider of physical and cognitive rehabilitation. The not-for-profit hospital and outpatient network provides nationally-recognized lifetime rehabilitation and wellness programs for individuals with spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, orthopedic joint replacement, amputation, pain management, and work injury. Since 1978, Magee has partnered with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to form The Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Delaware Valley, one of only 14 federally designated model systems of care in the country. Magee is nationally ranked as a Best Hospital in Rehabilitation by U.S. News & World Report.