From Ottobock acquiring Freedom Innovations to CMS withdrawing its proposed rule on the Benefits Improvement and Protection Act Section 427, there has been no shortage of industry news affecting the O&P profession.
In case you missed it, here is a list of the latest developments and legislative news in the world of O&P:
Ottobock acquires Freedom Innovations
Ottobock HealthCare GmbH has acquired lower limb prosthetics developer Freedom Innovations from its previous owner, Health Evolution Partners.
The two companies signed the purchase agreement on Sept. 22 in Irvine, California. According to the release, Freedom Innovations will continue to keep its brand. The details of the purchase contract are subject to a confidentiality agreement, according to the release. Read more.
Össur, Comau invest in BioRobotics spin-off company
Össur and Italian automation company Comau have announced a joint investment in IUVO, a spin-off group of the BioRobotics Institute that focuses on wearable technologies, including exoskeletons.
Founded in 2015 by professors and researchers from the BioRobotics Institute in Pisa, Italy, the goal of IUVO is to build on the achievements of national and European research projects, such as the FP7 ICT CYBERLEGs. Össur and Comau are majority shareholders in IUVO. Read more.
BOC launches new pharmacy compounding accreditation
The Board of Certification/Accreditation is accepting applications for a new compounding accreditation program for pharmacies.
The new program will solely focus on non-sterile compounding and will be available only in conjunction with the Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) retail or “retail plus DMEPOS” accreditation. Read more.
FDA approves expanded use of Indego exoskeleton
The FDA has approved an expanded indication for the Indego exoskeleton, developed by Parker Hannifin, to include patients at rehabilitation facilities with spinal cord injury at C7 and lower injury levels, as well as patients in home and community settings with T3 and lower injury levels.
The indication-for-use approval follows the successful implementation of an FDA 522 post-market surveillance study. In addition, the Parker Hannifin is conducting two ongoing clinical trials to provide evidence to support submissions for FDA clearance of future software features and functionalities that can be applied to the device. Read more.
AOPA, APMA urge CMS against new coding clarification
The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association and the American Podiatric Medical Association have penned a joint letter to CMS urging it to reconsider a recent coding clarification regarding custom-fabricated diabetic inserts.
To bill Medicare for a custom-fabricated diabetic insert using HCPCS code A5513, the new clarification calls for practitioners to create a physical model of the patient’s foot and then use that mold to fabricate the insert. Any process that uses virtual models to create inserts, either through direct milling or other means, do not meet the standard, and instead must be billed using the code A9270, which describes statutorily non-covered services, according to a notice on the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) website. Read more.
NCOPE raises education standards for O&P residency programs
Effective July 1, 2018, the minimum education requirement for admission to an O&P residency program will be a master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics.
The board of directors of the National Commission of Orthotic and Prosthetic Education recently approved the change to its residency program. According to the release, the change was part of an effort to assure that standards for residency programs are compatible with the coming eligibility requirements approved by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics. Read more.
NAAOP, AOPA express disappointment over CMS rule withdrawal
CMS has announced it is withdrawing a proposed rule that would specify the requirements and qualifications needed for O&P practitioners and suppliers, a development that Peter W. Thomas, JD, general counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics, has called a “step backward.”
CMS received more than 5,000 comments on the rule, known as Benefits Improvement and Protection Act (BIPA) Section 427. The strongest criticism of the rule came from physicians, physical therapists and occupational therapists, who “arguably would have been exempted from the rule by statute,” Thomas said in a statement. However, those groups were able to convince HHS to pull the rule, according to the statement. Read more.