The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP) released its latest webcast in which Peter Thomas, JD, said he is “overjoyed” thatMedicare Orthotic and Prosthetic Patient-Centered Care Act (H.R. 5262) was formally introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on November 22.
The legislation has been under development throughout 2019, and NAAOP is pleased with its formal introduction, Thomas said. The American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) has taken the lead on the legislation while NAAOP and the other O&P Alliance partners have been working to support the bill, he said.
Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) introduced the bill. Thomas encouraged members of the O&P profession to reach out to their congressional sponsors with their support. NAAOP, AOPA, and the Alliance organizations are conducting a widespread grassroots campaign to garner additional congressional support for the bill, he said. The bill text will be available at www.congress.gov.
The Medicare O&P Patient-Centered Care Act would:
- Distinguish in statute the clinical, service-oriented nature of O&P from the commodity-based nature of the durable medical equipment benefit
- Restore the intended meaning of off-the-shelf (OTS) orthotics to limit competitive bidding only to those orthoses that truly require minimal self-adjustment by the patient only
- Exempt certified and/or licensed orthotists and prosthetists from the requirement to have a competitive bidding contract to provide OTS orthoses
- Ban drop shipping to patients’ homes of all prosthetic limbs and orthotic braces that do not fit the bill’s new definition of OTS orthotics.
These provisions would protect patient access to the clinical expertise needed to achieve the full therapeutic value of prefabricated or custom-fit orthoses and prostheses, while saving the Medicare program significant dollars by reducing waste, fraud, and abuse. The bill would also separate in statute the O&P benefit from the commodity-based DME benefit.
“We look forward to working with our membership, as well as AOPA and our Alliance partners, to push towards enactment of this House bill and to introduce a companion bill in the U.S. Senate,” Thomas said.