On April 23, members of the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) and key advocates converged on Capitol Hill in Washington DC to urge members of Congress to pass healthcare reform measures that may increase patient access to O&P devices and ensure device quality for millions of Americans. AOPA contends that by passing two new pieces of legislation, the Medicare O&P Improvements Act of 2009 and the Orthotic and Prosthetic Parity Act, Congress can increase the quality of patient care by reducing Medicare fraud and increasing insurance coverage of O&P devices.
“Passing this legislation will help the millions living with limb loss or impairment access quality orthotic and prosthetic devices,” said AOPA President Brian Gustin, CP. “Feeling confident and empowered in ones mobility is a key attribute to living fully.”
The Medicare O&P Improvements Act of 2009 would require that O&P providers meet applicable state licensure requirements in order to be paid by Medicare. AOPA states that it “underscores that accreditation is required on the terms Congress enacted in 2001, and that reimbursement is linked to the qualifications of the provider correlating to the device the patient needs. Resulting reductions in fraud and abuse from enforcing these standards will save Medicare money and serve patients better.”
The Orthotic and Prosthetic Parity Act of 2009 will provide equitable insurance coverage of the devices. In March 2009, the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) and more than 200 amputees visited Capitol Hill with their key message, “Arms and legs are not a luxury,” and urged Congress to support O&P parity. AOPA stated that it and the ACA have been joined by approximately 25 additional disability-stakeholder groups in a strategic alliance to pass this legislation.
“The combined forces of our two organizations sends a clear message to Congress; we need to provide better care to our Americans living with limb loss or impairment,” said Kendra Calhoun, president and CEO of the ACA.