Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV) has introduced the Medicare O&P Improvements Act of 2009, H.R. 2479. According to the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA), the bill is meant to “enhance patient care, improve healthcare savings, and reduce fraud by assuring licensure compliance, accreditation, and qualifications of orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) providers who treat Medicare patients.” Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has indicated that he expects to introduce a companion version of the bill in the Senate.
“AOPA applauds the leadership of Representative Berkley on taking the lead with H.R. 2479,” stated AOPA President Brian Gustin, CP. “Medicare fraud and abuse are an unnecessary economic burden on our current healthcare system and impede patient treatment. By enforcing state licensure requirements, we can help to reduce healthcare costs and help the millions of Americans who need orthotic or prosthetic care.”
The Medicare O&P Improvements Act aims to ensure higher-quality care by enforcing accreditation standards enacted by Congress in 2001 and linking Medicare reimbursement to O&P provider qualifications. Applying appropriate accreditation standards for O&P specialists who treat Medicare patients will help to reduce fraud, resulting in cost savings for the Medicare program.
Reducing Medicare fraud is among the top priorities for President Obama’s healthcare reform agenda. The administration cites that for every $1 spent to stop Medicare fraud, there is a 50 percent return on investment. H.R. 2479 works in concert with this goal by placing valuable credentialing requirements on providers, better serving patients by guaranteeing the appropriate training of the practitioners who treat them.
“AOPA’s members are committed to moving the national dialogue on healthcare reform forward and will continue to advocate for measures to increase patient access to O&P devices and to ensure high quality of care,” said AOPA Executive Director Tom Fise. “The Medicare O&P Improvements Act is an important piece toward improving the level of healthcare service and benefits for orthotic and prosthetic patients nationwide.”