WASHINGTON — Members of the O&P community gathered at the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association Policy Forum, here, to prepare for meetings with Congressional representatives.
In a preliminary session, Michael Oros, CPO, president of the association, told attendees to focus on specific concerns in O&P legislation, including the support of new bills that could advance O&P accreditation; the effort to increase O&P education among patients and providers; and the importance of open dialogue that advocates affordable insurance for all patients with limb loss, limb difference or impairment.
“[This is] the most transformative policy forum event in [the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association] AOPA’s history,” according to Oros. “Congress is in the throes of possibly remaking our health care system, and the implications for O&P providers and patients is overwhelming.”
Members of Congress, including Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), as well as O&P officials Peter W. Thomas, JD, counsel to the O&P Alliance and general counsel to the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics, and Thomas F. Fise, JD, AOPA executive director, re-emphasized that point. They advised attendees to prioritize patient care when speaking with legislators and to ask lawmakers to support O&P by sponsoring bills.
The presenters also discussed the importance of learning the details of competitive bidding and its implications on O&P, the Local Coverage Determination draft, the Benefits Improvement and Protection Act of 2000 Section 427 and the American Health Care Act. The Recovery Audit Contractor initiative, essential health benefits and state parity laws were also among the top items discussed.
In closing, attendees were introduced to CO-OP, an AOPA-created online reimbursement coding and policy system that will serve as a collection of information and documentation for relevant topics in O&P legislation and research. Attendees were updated on the Amplify, Prosthetics 2020 and Mobility Saves initiatives, and encouraged to express legislative concerns, but also to give lawmakers solutions.
“In the forefront of our concerns is to maintain the clear rehabilitative and habilitative essential benefits definition to include O&P care,” Oros said. “It is not given, nor is retaining pre-existing conditions. What if Medicare blocks grants, which may cause states to pare back benefits? These issues will certainly impact the future of your patients. It is your opportunity to make sure no harm is done.”
He added, “A new administration always offers new challenges. We seek to tell the story of [our patients] through the services we provide to help [them] regain their maximum functioning ability.” – by Shawn M. Carter
Oros M, et al. American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association policy forum agenda. Presented at: American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association Policy Forum; May 24-25, 2017; Washington.
Disclosure: Oros reports no relevant financial disclosures.