NAAOP’s 2019 Fellows Announced & CMS OTS Orthotic Competitive Bidding

NAAOP Fellows:  NAAOP’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of NAAOP’s Policy Fellows for 2019.  The selection committee interviewed multiple, highly qualified nominees and chose two fellows, doubling the size of the NAAOP Fellowship program since last year’s pilot of the program.  The fellows are:

Alicia Carver: Alicia is a born advocate with an enthusiasm for advancing O&P care to benefit people with limb loss and limb difference.  Alicia is a graduate of Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in technical and applied studies.  She has experience with state-based advocacy and brings the insight of individuals who experience the challenge of accessing prosthetic care in more rural areas of the country.  Alicia has personal experience with both custom orthotics and lower extremity prostheses. (Read Full Bio)

Susannah Engdahl: Susannah is a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan, with a major focus on prosthetic and orthotic research.  Susannah will be very helpful in promoting the importance of evidence-based O&P practice, research, the O&P registry, and other important public policy issues impacting people requiring orthotics and prosthetics.  She has personal experience with upper extremity prostheses. (Read Full Bio)

These fellows will experience a 10-week policy fellowship this coming summer based in Washington, DC, with NAAOP serving as the principal host and sponsor of the program.  Many individual NAAOP board members, company members, and O&P organizations have contributed to the fellowship, both financially and by hosting the fellows for learning experiences during the fellowship itself.  NAAOP is incredibly grateful to all of its sponsors.

NAAOP President, Becky Hast, stated, “Finding Susannah and Alicia, both highly qualified and enthusiastic candidates, for the NAAOP Fellowship’s second year has reinforced our commitment to assisting this next generation of patient advocates to realize their potential. Many supporting associations, companies and individuals in the O&P community believe as we do — preparing for the future is some of the most important work we do today.”

OTS Orthotics:  CMS has announced that it will proceed with Medicare competitive bidding of Off-the-Shelf (OTS) orthotics over the next year and a half, culminating in implementation in the year 2021.  This is the first time CMS has expanded competitive bidding to O&P, albeit to a limited number of HCPCS codes.  23 knee and back orthoses will be impacted by the program.  Although OTS orthotics is the only type of O&P care authorized by law to be competitively bid, CMS interpreted the term “off-the-shelf” very broadly, impacting more than just orthoses that require minimal self-adjustment.  This risks losing the clinical care associated with these codes.

NAAOP is working with its O&P Alliance partners to address our concerns with CMS and is expected to soon introduce legislation to serve as an alternative to competitive bidding of OTS orthotics, among other O&P priorities.

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