In March, four members of the House of Representatives, Mike Thompson (D-CA), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), and Brett Guthrie (R-KY), reintroduced the bipartisan bill (H.R 1990), which is identical to the House version of the bill that was introduced in 2020 (H.R. 5262).
AOPA Executive Director Eve Lee said in her weekly video address that the policy forum was a success. “Over a two-week period in early May advocates met with senators, representatives, and staff members in hopes of gaining support for the [bill],” said Lee, who is confident the current bill stands a good chance of passing this year. “I attended many of these meetings with our advocates,” she said. “And the amount of knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm they showed is truly inspirational and is exactly what’s needed to get this bill over the finish line with this Congress.”
More than 100 meetings have been held with legislators, and Patient-Centered Care Act was the only bill O&P advocates put before policymakers during this year’s Policy Forum.
Passage of the bill would accomplish four priorities for O&P:
· Distinguish durable medical equipment from clinical, service-oriented O&P care in the Medicare statute and regulations, leading to recognition of the clinical care O&P practitioners provide.
· Limit the definition of off-the-shelf (OTS) orthotics to devices that truly require only minimal self-adjustment by the beneficiary. This would help ensure that patients continue to have access to the clinical orthotic services they need.
· Ban drop-shipping of custom-fitted and custom-fabricated orthoses and prostheses to patients’ homes to prevent fraud and abuse and ensure patient access to clinical O&P care.
· Exempt licensed and certified O&P practitioners from OTS competitive bidding, treating them similarly to physicians and therapists by allowing them to provide OTS orthoses to their patients—without a contract—at the competitive bidding rate (not the higher fee schedule amount).