WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite the growing list of legislative concerns affecting O&P professionals, the No. 1 concern remains the same, according to speakers at the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association Policy Forum, here.
“In all of our discussions — and particularly, those of you who are patients — we talk about a lot of things that affect O&P and the way professionals provide care. But it the end, it really is about the patients,” Thomas F. Fise, JD, executive director of the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) said during a panel discussion at the forum.
AOPA has partnered with the Amputee Coalition, among other organizations, to present a unified message to legislators about the importance of O&P care.
“We are a small part of the Medicare [funding] pie, so having a consistent voice on this is really important,” Fise said.
Dan Ignaszewski, director of government relations and marketing for the Amputee Coalition, said the organization encourages patients to advocate for their own care and provides them the tools to do so. Patient resources and education are important, he said, because their voice makes a difference.
“We are making sure that patients understand their rights. We have a resources center that we provide patients with materials and information. We just came out last fall with an Insurance Coverage and Reimbursement Guide, ‘How to be Your Own Advocate,’ that is specifically for patients,” Ignaszewski said.
According to Ignaszewski, the resources center is geared toward helping patients understand that they need to be more involved in their health care needs, and that they need to understand their rights.
“[Patients] need to understand what private payers are doing, what Medicare is doing, what Medicaid is doing and what the VA is doing so that they can be empowered to make decisions and make sure that they get the coverage they need and [practitioners] are getting paid and covered the way that they need to,” he said.
Ignaszewski said O&P professionals should encourage their patients to get politically involved.
“Empower patients to be their own advocate,” he said. – by Amanda Alexander
Ignaszewski D. AOPA issues briefing, panel #3 — O&P legislative alert — issues and pending bills: patient perspective. Presented at: American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association Policy Forum. March 23-25, 2015; Washington, D.C.
Fise TF. AOPA issues briefing, panel #3 — O&P legislative alert — issues and pending bills: Can you ever be truly prepared for your congressional visits tomorrow? This week and the SGR fix: why it is important to us. Presented at: American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association Policy Forum. March 23-25, 2015; Washington, D.C.
Disclosure: Fise and Ignaszewski report no relevant financial disclosures.