The legislative sponsors of medicare reform are the promoters of the projected $500 million+ reduction of O&P services in the next five years.Lawmakers percieve the industry AND your profession as comparable to DMEs .
Some percieve the recent consolidation attempt as the industry’s strategy to to unite the membership numbers to NOT support the federal govt in establishing minimum educational standards, ie. CAAHEP guidelines, and oppose the pending medicare reduction levels.
Lawmakers are alluding to the threat (promise) of such a drastic reduction in O&P coverages will convince the National Office unilaterly to actively and volunterly support upgrading their own profession by insisting the enactment of a legislative bill,comparable to The William G, Barr Amputee Protection Act,drafted by Congressman Robert Wexler 19th District (Fla).
His number is 202-225-3001 attention Eva Cargill.
This draft was presented to all of the O&P Associations last year but stonewalled by some of their leaders.
The legislative draft may have never of been filtered down to the academy members.
I believe the consolidation approach was an alternative strategy in not supporting such legislation.
Attempts to seperate the professional profile and reimbursement levels from those of DME dealers,the primary culpurts of O&P fraud and abuse, will not replace the need of establishing educational standards and convincing lawmakers of reviewing adequate levels of coverage.
If AOPA and/or the Academy and the consumer do not take the immediate initiative to actively support higher educational standards for practitioners seeking reimbursement from medicare,the professional side of the equation is doomed.
The indivisual practitioner who relies on medicare reimbursement,the profession and the consumer will continue to suffer.
I will attempt to continue to generate consumer organizations support NOT to consolidate and encourage the profession thru their organizations,to support reform legislation raising the educational standards for practitioners seeking medicare reimbursement.
This is the profession’s only and last opportunity to stop the pending excessive reimburement reductions in O&P.
I have recieved many personal e-mails and phone calls against consolidation, and in support of raising standards , but very few via the O&P Listserves to be openly reviewed.
This indicates to me that many professionals remain passive in publically stating their position, possibly concerned about retaliation by thier suppliers.I have posted segments of these comments but will respect their wishes of anonymity.
However, fortunately, it will be your final votes that will decide the issue.I will be posting segments of those comments but will respect their wishes of anonymity and delete the authors.Comment should be provided on all the O&P and amputee listserves to educate all subscribers on the issues.The profession must speak up now or their will be no profession. O&P will take a step backwards to an Industry owned and operated by manufactures, as it was some 25 yeqrs ago,before the Academy was formed as the professional association.
Whether or not O&P professionals will become activists is the question,the big question!!!!
Consider joining the Academy to oppose the consolidation .
If there is enough interaction and unity in opposition against consolidation and for establishing federal educational guidelines,perhaps the industry and the National Office may reach conclusion that they must actively support establishing federal guidelines for educational standards.Perhaps unilateral support of supporting these standards will stop the proposed medicare reductions in O&P services.
What is good for the consumer will be good for the profession!!
Thank you for your comments, further anticipated interaction and support.
Anthony T. Barr
The Barr Foundation