The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP) has issued the following call to action for the O&P community:
For the next two weeks, it is imperative that NAAOP members and friends pick up the phone, call 202.225.3121, and ask to speak with their member of Congress (or his or her U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or health legislative assistant). Go to the Congressional Legislative Action Center at www.naaop.org for more information and assistance. The message to your Congressman is clear:
1. VA Bill of Rights: Ask your Congressman (or VA legislative assistant) to sign on to Congresswoman Renee Ellmers’ (R-NC) letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, MBA, requesting him to implement on his own authority key aspects of the Injured and Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights.
- The VA Bill of Rights, introduced in the last Congress as House Resolution (H.R.) 3408, seeks to make the O&P care that veterans receive more consistent across the country.
- It educates veterans of their right to receive O&P care from the practitioner of their choice-whether or not the practitioner has a VA contract-and the right to access appropriate O&P technology, among other things.
- Before Ellmers reintroduces this bill in the 114th Congress, she wants to see if McDonald will take action on his own.
- Please ask your congress person, especially if he or she cosponsored H.R. 3408 last year, to cosign this letter with Ellmers.
- Congressional staff should contact [email protected] in Congresswoman Ellmers’ office to confirm their willingness to sign on.
2. Linking Medicare Payment with Qualifications and Clarifying Off-the-Shelf (OTS) Orthotics: Another letter being circulated for Congressional sign on, this one by Congressman Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) addresses the need for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to finally issue regulations that link the right to be paid by Medicare with the qualifications of O&P providers and suppliers. This same letter seeks to clarify Congressional intent that OTS orthotics must be defined as orthoses requiring only “minimal self-adjustment,” rather than allowing caretakers and suppliers to fit OTS orthotics.
- Ask your congress person (or his or her health legislative assistant) to sign on to the Costello-Duckworth letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell urging her to issue proposed regulations linking Medicare payment with provider qualifications. These regulations are 15 years past due and should be issued by HHS immediately to improve the quality of O&P care and limit fraud and abuse.
- The letter also requests HHS to clarify the meaning of “minimal self-adjustment” as it applies to OTS orthotics.
- Congressional staff should convey their agreement to sign on to this letter to Dante Cutrona ([email protected]), for Republicans, or Kalina Bakalov ([email protected]), for Democrats.