The Recipe to MDA’s ‘Secret Sauce’

Article Highlights:
  • MDA launches the newest addition of online community resource tools — your own personal “secret sauce” — the Tips for Success Kit.
  • Tips for Success come from individuals in the MDA community who have successfully navigated “the system,” and from MDA’s strong partnerships with agencies that help to facilitate independence.
by Annie Kennedy on October 1, 2012 - 9:00am

QUEST Vol. 19, No. 4

Did you ever attend an MDA community event and see someone sporting a piece of durable medical equipment that you were sure your insurance would never cover? Or hear someone describe his or her experience with an insurance appeals process and think “how did they even know where to begin?” Or read articles in Quest magazine about other members in our MDA community who are traveling the globe and feel intimidated by the mere thought of navigating airport security with your mobility equipment?

In my work with MDA, I have the distinct privilege of getting to hear from lots of individuals and families who have successfully navigated these various systems — as well as from those who reach out on a daily basis seeking information as to where to even begin. As one gentleman remarked when he called recently, “I’m beginning to think that there’s a recipe to the ‘secret sauce’ and MDA may have it.”

The truth is, there are lots of “secret sauces,” depending on your diagnosis, the system or new frontier you are working to access, your age and the state in which you live. And MDA does have the cookbook for these “secret sauce” recipes because we have you — our national community of experts who have successfully navigated these systems — and we have strong partnerships with the agencies that facilitate them. As anyone knows who has ever attended a support group or posted a question to a social media site, there is no better expert than a person who has tested the system and triumphed.

We are pleased to announce the launch of MDA’s newest addition of online community resource tools — your own personal “secret sauce” — the Tips for Success Kit. The Kit will soon be available on the MDA website in October.

This terrific new resource was the yield of a project led by our MDA Advocacy intern team, and included the expertise and input of individuals served by MDA, content area experts, representatives from MDA’s National Task Force on Public Awareness, leadership from MDA’s Health Care Services field staff, and — when applicable — state and federal agency representatives.

Tips for Success topics include:

  • applying for Social Security;
  • educational advocacy;
  • equipment funding;
  • home modifications;
  • emergency preparedness;
  • interviewing a personal care attendant;
  • advocating with an elected official;
  • Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program overview;
  • Medicare overview;
  • tips for traveling;
  • workforce confidence (interview tips, workplace accommodations);
  • and more.

And we’re not done yet. If you have additions to any of these resources in the Tips for Success Kit or suggestions for other resources that should be added, please submit them to Also, check out our monthly wiki project where YOU build a new expert resource each month as a part of our Transitions Center.

So, yes, there indeed is a “secret sauce” and MDA does have it … it’s YOU, our MDA community.

Annie Kennedy is MDA's senior vice president of advocacy.

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