October 19, 2015
Washington, D.C.-The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP) issued its response today to the White House’s “initial” reply to the “We the People” petition requesting the President to rescind the draft Medicare Local Coverage Determination for Lower Limb Prostheses (DL 33787). The White House response to the petition was posted October 16th.
While not a substantive reply to the petition’s request, the White House acknowledged that it will provide an “update” in the future. The White House’s initial response mentions that “HHS has met with stakeholders on this important issue, and both CMS and its contractors understand the questions that have been raised about access to the right prosthetic care – including related technologies – for Medicare beneficiaries.” It also states that “CMS wants to make clear that they’re committed to providing high quality care to all Medicare beneficiaries.”
Peter W. Thomas, NAAOP General Counsel, noted that, “While we would have preferred a final answer instructing the DME MACs to rescind the draft LCD, we are encouraged that the White House recognized the need to publicly respond and provide this initial update. NAAOP will continue to work with CMS and the White House and press the issue by educating legislators and government officials to achieve the outcome both Medicare beneficiaries with limb loss and privately-insured amputees in the United States deserve.”
David McGill, NAAOP President, added, “After attracting over 100,000 signatures in 17 days, witnessing the prosthetic and orthotic community submit thousands of public comments, and participating in both an amputee protest and a high-level meeting with CMS and HHS officials, we cannot hide our disappointment that the draft LCD has not yet been rescinded. But we take CMS at its word that they understand the concerns we have raised and look forward to working with them to achieve a good outcome for patients, their families, and the providers who serve them. NAAOP will recommit itself to advocacy work on this vital issue.”
Rescission of the draft LCD is critical because it lacks virtually any clinical or medical evidence to support its proposals while other payers look to it for guidance. United Healthcare has already discontinued coverage of vacuum socket technology by referencing the draft Medicare policy. ”NAAOP believes strongly that the public must be offered another opportunity to comment on the final LCD when it is announced. The draft LCD was so fundamentally flawed that the next iteration must be considered a draft subject to public comment,” stated McGill.
NAAOP had previously announced that it had surpassed the 100,000 signature mark on its “We the People” White House petition on July 17, 2015. The petition, which calls for the Obama Administration to “rescind the Medicare proposal restricting access to prosthetic limbs and returning amputees to 1970’s standards of care,” was supposed to have received a formal response from the White House by October 16th.
Numerous organizations endorsed and promoted the petition, including the Amputee Coalition, a consumer organization, as well as professional organizations such as the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA), the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP), the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics (ABC), the Board of Certification, International (BOC), the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE), prosthetic clinics and business, as well as multiple organizations representing rehabilitation hospitals, physician organizations and disability groups through a coalition known as the ITEM Coalition.
Contact: Peter W. Thomas