Making the Case for O&P in an Uncertain Climate
February 2017 Issue
Consumers and providers of healthcare in the United States are facing many questions about the future of access to and reimbursement of healthcare services as a new Congress and president prepare to lead federal public policy. No matter the changes we may face, one common refrain seems to remain constant: Evidence of the efficacy and cost effectiveness of O&P interventions are key to providing the justifications payers are looking for to pay claims, which ensures practitioners are reimbursed and able to continue providing patients the care they need.
"Economic Impact of O&P Interventions: Research and O&P Organizations Lead the Way" explores several ways in which the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) and the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (the Academy) are supporting research efforts that will provide hard data about the economics of O&P interventions in a holistic manner, which includes not only healthcare expenses but also the implications of employment and the use of assistance programs. This article concludes with a synopsis of three recent studies that have attempted to provide economic evidence for O&P interventions.
Laura Fonda Hochnadel explores the current economic and legislative climate in another vein in "Sharing Your Expertise Through Lobbying." She spoke with AOPA, the Academy, and several practitioners who shared ways in which citizens can get involved with their political leaders to help influence policy decisions that impact O&P reimbursement and care.
Finally, Phil Stevens, MEd, CPO, FAAOP, introduces the concept of assessing the influence of healthcare on quality of life in "Health-related Quality of Life: A Developing Standard in Healthcare." While the robust study he presents focuses on patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the examples therein have implications for similar quality-of-life measurements for patients with lower-limb amputations using prosthetic interventions. Quoting from definitions provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, success viewed through this lens is not measured according to economic benefits, nor extension of life, but according to improvement of the quality of the years lived-a frequent outcome of O&P interventions.
While there is much yet to do, many within the profession have already been promoting research, lobbying, and creating public awareness of the value of O&P services that will help current and future patients receive the care that enriches their lives.