In addition to the looming issues of the federal debt ceiling, avoiding a government shutdown in October, relief funding for Hurricane Harvey and the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, Congress will return to Washington, D.C., this month to face a collection of bills and regulations directly affecting the O&P community.
According to a YouTube statement from Peter Thomas, JD, general counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP), the organization is closely following the issue of CMS’ recent statements that it may withdraw Benefits Improvement and Protection Act (BIPA) section 427 regulations linking provider and supplier qualifications with Medicare billing privileges. Thomas added that NAAOP and its partners are working to ensure that CMS moves forward with final publication of regulations related to this section of the law, which was initially approved 17 years ago but never fully implemented.
“We’re also working with Congress on a variety of different issues, including the O&P Medicare Improvement Act — the recognition of clinicians’ notes in the prosthetists orthotists’ file for the purposes of medical necessity and determinations of O&P claims,” Thomas said in the YouTube statement to members. “And the VA Bill of Rights, which we’re trying to get passed, which will ultimately, hopefully, allow veterans to become their best advocate for receiving top quality care by the VA.”
Thomas added that the NAAOP is monitoring the progress of the Interagency Workgroup on Lower Limb Prosthetics, which was established in the wake of the draft local coverage determination for lower limb prostheses. According to Thomas, the group is expected to release a consensus statement “at some point in the near future.”
“However, the timing of this is unclear,” Thomas said in a press release. “Once the workgroup releases its statement, NAAOP will submit public comments on it.”