“There is so much information coming out of Washington these days that an educated advocate is the most effective advocate. NAAOP helps the O&P community distinguish between the important message and the noise. We work with leaders in the field to present a positive and proactive message to Capitol Hill and the federal agencies: a message that benefits O&P patients and the providers who serve them.”
– Peter W. Thomas, General Counsel
Thank you for your interest. Well-informed constituents are critical to effective advocacy.
This section primarily focuses on educational and informational sources. Here you will find a general summary of NAAOP’s position on some key issues facing the O&P community. Our routine updates and alerts contain very specific information regarding all aspects of healthcare policy and the corresponding implications for O&P patients and providers. Also in this section you will find links to governmental bodies involved in the healthcare policy development process. This information will enable you to contact various policymakers as well as serve as an important resource for relevant source material on issues impacting professional O&P patient care.
Research: Advancing O&P Care
One of NAAOP’s top priorities is O&P research, including funding, federal engagement, and prioritizing O&P research within the federal agencies that fund O&P research and development. One of NAAOP’s first successes in the legislative arena resulted in the Claude Pepper Act for Amputees, which led to passage of the National Institutes of Health Reauthorization Act of 1990, establishing the O&P research program at NIH. NAAOP continues to support efforts to fund research and elevate O&P as a priority with the federal agencies that fund rehabilitation and disability research, both individually and through its involvement with the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Coalition, a group of over 40 organizations focused on this topic. NAAOP is fully engaged in all efforts to advance professional O&P patient care through reliable outcome measures, evidence of clinical efficacy, and advancements in O&P technology.
Access to quality orthotic and prosthetic care is paramount, which often translates into an effort to broaden coverage of O&P care. Medicare is an important program affects millions of Americans, but it also tends to set the standard of coverage for other government programs and private payers. NAAOP has been a leader in fighting coverage restrictions in O&P care for decades, from the establishment of Medicare’s functional levels in 1993 to the establishment of essential health benefit packages in the states under the Affordable Care Act. Most recently, NAAOP led the fight to overturn New York State’s “one limb per lifetime” coverage restriction under private insurance in that state.
Quality and Qualifications
NAAOP members are dedicated to the highest standards of O&P patient care. NAAOP practitioner members are nationally certified and/or state licensed practitioners. We believe reliance on state licensure and national facility accreditation protects O&P patients by reducing exposure to unqualified providers.
NAAOP supports state licensure because it protects the O&P patient by demonstrating that only practitioners with sufficient education, experience, and appropriate patient care facilities can provide complex O&P patient care. While O&P practitioners are members of the medical rehabilitation team, NAAOP believes that comprehensive O&P care requires the unique qualifications that only members of the O&P profession possess.
Coding and Payment
Consumers will only have access to quality O&P care if providers are able to be appropriately compensated for their services. This includes a need for accurate coding, reasonable reimbursement levels, and confidence that reimbursements will not be subsequently recouped when coverage decisions are subsequently reversed. This is a major priority for NAAOP because without appropriate reimbursement, quality and access to patient care will suffer. This priority includes separation of DME from O&P, maintaining the O&P exemption from competitive bidding, clarifying the competitive bidding authority for off-the-shelf orthotics, ensuring annual updates to the Medicare fee schedule, improving coding of O&P care, and challenging overly aggressive auditing practices that create huge delays in access to fair hearings when coverage, coding and payment disputes arise.