The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) welcomed the introduction of the Medicare O&P Improvements Act of 2009, H.R. 2479, by Rep. Shelley Berkley. This important legislation will enhance patient care, improve health care savings and reduce fraud by assuring licensure compliance, accreditation, and qualifications of O&P providers who treat Medicare patients. Sen. Ben Cardin has indicated that he expects to introduce a companion version of the bill in the Senate.
“AOPA applauds the leadership of Representative Berkley on taking the lead with H.R. 2479,” Brian Gustin, CP, AOPA president, said in a news release. “Medicare fraud and abuse are an unnecessary economic burden on our current health care system and impede patient treatment. By enforcing state licensure requirements, we can help to reduce health care costs and help the millions of Americans who need orthotic or prosthetic care.”
The Medicare O&P Improvements Act aims to ensure higher quality of care by enforcing accreditation standards enacted by Congress in 2001 and linking Medicare reimbursement to O&P provider qualifications. Applying appropriate accreditation standards for O&P specialists who treat Medicare patients will help to reduce fraud, resulting in cost savings for the Medicare program.
Reducing Medicare fraud is among the top priorities for President Barack Obama’s health care reform agenda. The administration cites that for every dollar spent to stop Medicare fraud, there is a 50% return on investment. H.R. 2479 works in concert with this goal by placing valuable credentialing requirements on providers. This better serves patients by guaranteeing the appropriate training of the practitioners who treat them.
“AOPA’s members are committed to moving the national dialogue on health care reform forward, and will continue to advocate for measures to increase patient access to O&P devices and to ensure high quality of care,” Tom Fise, AOPA executive director said. “The Medicare O&P Improvements Act is an important piece toward improving the level of health care service and benefits for O&P patients nationwide.”