Officials at the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics noted accomplishments of the group in 2016, while looking ahead to the tasks for 2017.
David McGill, JD, president of National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP), noted in a press release that the association has supported efforts to pass S. 800/H.R. 1631. According to the release, the legislation will “elevate the stature and better coordinate rehabilitation and disability research at the NIH, including orthotic and prosthetic research and development.”
The group also noted a “major victory for Medicare providers,” according to the release, following a move by the D.C. District Court to compel the secretary of HHS to eliminate the backlog of 750,000 administrative law judge Medicare cases by the year 2020. According to the release, the government has until February to appeal the decision. It added, however, that NAAOP will push to have appropriate O&P claims considered for settlement.
NAAOP anticipates the new presidential administration and Republican-led Congress will propose measures that will “fundamentally restructure and reform major government health care programs,” according to the release. It noted potential changes include repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, restructuring of Medicare into a defined contribution model, and repeal of Medicaid expansion and block grant of the traditional program.
According to Peter W. Thomas, JD, NAAOP general counsel and counsel to the O&P Alliance, such a change to Medicaid would present significant challenges for patients.
“This is a threat, because it will not keep pace in the future if they pursue this approach, which means that states need to pay more for Medicaid or cut benefits,” Thomas said in a YouTube video. “And it is likely that many states will need to cut benefits.”
Despite challenges, the NAAOP noted that incoming HHS Secretary Rep. Tom Price, MD, (R-Ga.), an orthopedic surgeon, may offer opportunities to advance O&P policy.
“NAAOP will continue to assess all proposals based on their impact on the O&P patient and the providers who serve them, and is expecting an extraordinarily busy year,” the release noted.