The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP) has released a webcast about what it called the “threats and opportunities” to O&P that 2014 healthcare legislation may bring. NAAOP General Counsel Peter Thomas, JD, pointed out that aside from working to extend the funding of the federal government beyond January 15, Congress is looking to provide a permanent fix to the physician fee schedule to replace the temporary fix that was passed in late 2013 and will expire on March 31. Should a permanent fix and its associated costs come to pass, Congress may attempt to reduce other Medicare costs by scrutinizing all medical providers, including O&P providers. Should Congress passage a Medicare or other major bill, however, Thomas stated that there may be opportunities to attach favorable legislation to it.
NAAOP said it is currently focused on three bills:
The Injured and Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights, House Resolution (H.R.) 3408 would create a list of rights that would be posted on the Veterans Affairs (VA) website as well as in every VA O&P clinic across the country. The bill is intended to educate veterans of their rights to quality patient care under the VA health system, including the right to appropriate O&P technology, choice of O&P practitioner, and other important rights.
The Medicare O&P Improvement Act, H.R. 3112, would link the qualifications of O&P providers and suppliers with the ability to be paid by Medicare. The bill bolsters reliance on O&P licensure and accreditation by the American Board for Certification in Prosthetics, Orthotics & Pedorthics (ABC), the Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC), and essentially equivalent accreditors. The bill seeks to reduce fraud, abuse, and overpayments while improving the quality of O&P patient care.
The Insurance Fairness for Amputees Act, H.R. 3020, would prohibit arbitrary exclusions and limitations in O&P benefits in private insurance plans. The bill would not mandate coverage of O&P care, but if a plan provides care, it would require that the same limits and exclusions apply to O&P as apply to all medical and surgical benefits covered under the plan.
The webcast is posted on the NAAOP website, shared with members via e-mail, and made available through the NAAOP page on Facebook.