The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP) issued the following statement about the Injured and Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights and new Medicare standards for suppliers of durable medical equipment, orthotics, prosthetics, and supplies (DMEPOS):
NAAOP is proud to report that Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs (VA) Committee, recently reintroduced HR 5428, the Injured and Amputee Veterans’ Bill of Rights. This legislation has been amended from the previous bill in the 110th Congress and now includes an enforcement mechanism that will put teeth into the rights that all injured and amputee veterans have in terms of their orthotic and prosthetic care requirements.
On September 29, 2010, the House VA Health Subcommittee held a hearing on this legislation to gather public input. NAAOP lead an effort to attract the support of a large number of national organizations in favor of the bill including the major O&P organizations, the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA), Paralyzed Veterans of America, Brain Injury Association of America, VetsFirst, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and many other organizations.
There are increasing concerns that as the national spotlight moves away from those injured by the past decade of war, amputee veterans and others with war injuries will increasingly have problems accessing the O&P care they need. HR 5428 requires that every VA O&P clinic post a list of rights that all veterans have-to the most appropriate technology to meet their needs, access to a private practitioner of their choice whether or not that practitioner has a VA contract, the right to a second opinion by a VA physician or prosthetist/orthotist, the right to receive comparable benefits throughout the country, and many other protections. NAAOP urges all O&P providers and consumers to write their congressperson and urge them to immediately pass the Injured and Amputee Veteran Bill of Rights, HR 5428.
New DMEPOS Medicare Standards Recognize Unique Nature of O&P
New Medicare standards for suppliers of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) were published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on August 27 and went into effect September 27, 2010. The new rules establish more stringent enrollment standards for DMEPOS suppliers but, at the same time, recognize the unique nature of services provided by suppliers of custom-fitted and fabricated orthotics and prosthetics. This is further evidence that CMS is recognizing that DME is not O&P and is treating them separately for regulatory purposes.
The most significant provision in the new regulations involves state O&P licensure. Specifically, the new standards require that DMEPOS suppliers that furnish services for which state law requires a license must meet all state licensure requirements and employ licensed professionals on a full- or part-time basis. This is the first time CMS has published in regulation the requirement that all DMEPOS suppliers, including O&P suppliers, meet state licensure laws in order to participate in Medicare. Elevating this requirement to the status of a regulation is very significant. These new regulations continue to build a record of success between the O&P field and CMS in implementing regulations that separate O&P from DME suppliers while linking quality and payment of O&P with the qualifications of O&P practitioners and suppliers.