NAAOP Update: COVID-19, Race Relations, O&P Policy Agenda

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The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics & Prosthetics (NAAOP) has released its latest webcast with an update on COVID-19, the O&P associations' joint statement on race relations, and various O&P policy updates:

COVID-19: NAAOP has welcomed back its General Counsel Peter Thomas, JD. Thomas, his parents, and sister, Kathy, acquired COVID-19 last month. Thomas and his sister have fully recovered. Thomas has returned to work and offers his gratitude to those who extended their condolences and support to him upon the passing of his parents to COVID-19. Thomas said the kind responses he has received has been "overwhelming."

He also reiterated the importance of the O&P provider community remaining vigilant in protecting themselves, their staff, and their patients from COVID-19 transmission as the field begins accelerating the delivery of patient care.

Statement on Race Relations: In the wake of the events involving George Floyd and others, as well as the national protests that have ensued, NAAOP and its sister O&P organizations (the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association, the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics, the Board of Certification/Accreditation, and the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education ) have issued a joint statement:

"NAAOP is proud to stand alongside our sister organizations in the O&P profession in signing and supporting this statement. As a result of recent events in our country, we want all members of the O&P community to know that your O&P professional organizations stand together against racism. We are steadfast in our commitment to fairness, justice, and respect for all. We remain dedicated to open dialogue, active listening, and working toward enhancing diversity at all levels of our profession."

NAAOP recognizes it is not a ‘profile in courage' to state that we, as an organization, are opposed to racism, and in favor of fairness, justice, and respect for all. NAAOP feels strongly about being on record and hope that the widespread debate happening nationwide is a step forward in helping to resolve these intractable problems.

O&P Policy Update: NAAOP is pleased that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) has suspended the pilot project on Medicare prior authorization of six prosthetic HCPCS billing codes in four states, California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas, originally scheduled to be implemented on May 11. NAAOP advocated for this suspension because implementation of a new documentation system for certain prosthetic components during a pandemic created a major risk of delay and denial in access to patient care.

Many O&P practices have also taken advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) program. New legislation was recently enacted to modify the terms of the PPP such as extending the time period to expend the funds, the time period for paying back the loan (if it does not qualify as a forgivable loan), and increasing the share that businesses can expend on non-payroll expenses. NAAOP encourages all O&P practices to examine this program to see whether it makes sense to apply.

Finally, NAAOP has been working with its O&P Alliance partners to explore ways for orthotists and prosthetists to be reimbursed for O&P telehealth services provided to O&P patients, outside of the 90-day window after delivery of an orthosis or prosthesis.

The video is posted on the NAAOP website and on NAAOP's You Tube channel.