The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics & Prosthetics (NAAOP) has released its latest webcast in which general counsel Peter Thomas, JD, joined by this year’s NAAOP fellows, Alicia Carver and Susannah Engdahl, PhD, gives an update on NAAOP’s governmental work and the summer policy fellowships.
Thomas said that NAAOP has been on Capitol Hill advocating for the Medicare Orthotics and Prosthetics Patient-Centered Care Act, the successor to the Medicare O&P Improvement Act, that will soon be introduced to Congress. NAAOP is coordinating with the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA), which is taking the lead on the legislation, and the O&P Alliance organizations. After multiple meetings with members of Congress and staff, and with more meetings scheduled for July, the provisions in the bill are picking up support from key members of the House and Senate.
Carver and Engdahl shared their fellowship experiences, including learning about O&P clinical practice at Stokosa Prosthetic Clinic, Okemos, Michigan, and visiting the Michigan State Capitol to advocate on O&P issues. A trip to Gainesville, Florida, exposed them to clinical O&P, OPIE Software, and the future needs of the profession in the area of data collection and outcomes. The fellows visited the Orthotic and Prosthetic Group of America operations in Waterloo, Iowa, Iowa state politicians and policymakers, and Hanger Clinics in the Washington DC area to learn about clinical O&P from a large provider perspective.
Carver and Engdahl also visited the national offices of the O&P Alliance organizations, spending a day at the Board of Certification/Accreditation, the American Academy of Orthotics and Prosthetics, the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics, the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education, and AOPA. Thomas said that each organization provided a comprehensive overview of its mission and role and that Carver and Engdahl have already gained a wealth of experiences and knowledge they will take with them through their advocacy and policy efforts in the future.