The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP) released a webcast discussing the recent US House of Representatives Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing April 30.
The hearing covered waste and abuse in the Medicare program, which loses more than $50 billion annually to fraud, according to a recent report. Three witnesses discussed the need for CMS to reduce improper payments, improve oversight of contractors and further implement strategies developed by the Government Accountability Office.
“Despite the government efforts to crack down on fraud and abuse, the Medicare program still loses money each year,” Peter Thomas, JD, general counsel for the NAAOP, stated in the webcast. “The NAAOP has two strong positions on legislation to advance the ball and to resolve some of the many problems in this area.”
House Resolution 3112, the Medicare Orthotics and Prosthetics Improvement Act, would implement regulations already mandated by federal law that would prohibit payments to unqualified providers and suppliers of custom orthotic and prosthetic devices.
The Ensuring Beneficiary Access to Orthotics and Prosthetics Act of 2014 would improve the administrative appeals process, reform Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) audits and identify O&P practitioners as professional health care providers. Efforts to introduce this legislation are ongoing.
“Fraud is a concept that the NAAOP agrees has no place in the Medicare program,” Thomas said. “In fact every dollar spent on fraud is a dollar that cannot be spent on beneficiary care in the area of orthotics and prosthetics.”
The financial burdens imposed on legitimate O&P providers by RAC audits and the long delay in the Medicare administrative appeals process were not discussed during the hearing, according to an NAAOP statement.
Click here to view the NAAOP webcast.