The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP) released a webcast about the passage of Medicare legislation that avoids a cut in physician fees, and the 2014 American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) Policy Forum.
NAAOP General Counsel Peter Thomas, JD, discussed Medicare legislation, signed on April 1, which will fund the physician fee schedule rule until March 15, 2015, avoiding a 24 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement to physicians, and physical and occupational therapists, among others. Thomas pointed out that the passage allows for “a pretty major Medicare bill” in 2015 as part of a permanent fix to the physician fee schedule, at which time NAAOP will also put forward O&P legislation. Because Medicare-related legislation may seek budgetary cuts, “we need to be vigilant as that debate unfolds,” Thomas said.
The AOPA Policy Forum, held April 2-3, hosted more than 100 O&P practitioners, patients, and students for multiple meetings on Capitol Hill. “Overall I think there was a significant energy” that came from O&P, Thomas said. He also reported on the status of two O&P related bills: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Injured and Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights (VA Bill of Rights), House Resolution (H.R.) 3408, has 36 cosponsors and NAAOP continues to work with the VA committee in the House of Representatives to advance the bill; and the O&P Medicare Improvement Act, H.R. 1958, has secured additional support and NAAOP is moving forward to get it attached to a Medicare bill as a vehicle to its passage.
Thomas also described new legislation being drafted by the O&P Alliance that would reform the appeals process and Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) reviews. He said passage of the bill would “explicitly state and settle once and for all” that clinical notes by O&P practitioners are included as part of the medical record for purposes of determining medical necessity.