Congress passed a temporary, 3-month fix to the Medicare physician fee schedule that protects physicians and therapists from a 21% to 24% cut in reimbursement as of Jan. 1. However, this short term fix expires on March 31 unless Congress finds another solution, according to Peter W. Thomas, JD, general counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics.
Two bills have been passed to permanently extend the physician fee schedule, to repeal the sustainable growth rate formula and to replace it with a new paradigm. To offset the high cost of this permanent fix, Congress will be reducing Medicare costs in other areas, which could affect the O&P industry.
But the passage of a Medicare bill offers the opportunity for the NAAOP to attach favorable legislation to the bill as it moves through Congress.
“There are three significant pieces of legislation that are introduced right now in the House and potentially the Senate sometime in the near future. The three bills are the O&P Medicare Improvement Act, the Insurance Fairness for Amputees Act and the Injured Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights,” Thomas stated in a news release. “These three bills address Medicare, private insurance and veteran’s access to O&P care and it’s a real comprehensive agenda that is being put forth by the O&P community.”