WASHINGTON, D.C. — O&P professionals spent the second day of the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association Policy Forum, here, meeting with members of Congress to discuss O&P-related issues and ways in which lawmakers can help.
A group led by Robert Easterbrooks, CPO, and Kathleen Easterbrooks, both of Atlantic Prosthetics & Orthotics Co. in Westport, Mass., kicked off a day of meetings with a visit to Rep. William Keating, D-Mass. Also in attendance were three representatives of Allard USA: Vincent Decataldo, BOCPO, NJ LPO, Allard O&P partnership manager; Chrissy Thomas, education and ToeOFF product team manager; and Barbie Barnett, a sixth grade teacher with foot drop who attended the forum to share the positive impact of her Allard brace.
From left, Rep. William Keating discusses O&P-related legislative issues with Kathleen Easterbrooks and Robert Easterbrooks during the AAOPA Policy Forum.
Source: Alexander A. O&P News.
The group discussed Medicare, Recovery Audit Contractor audits, and the importance of licensing and accreditation with Keating. The Easterbrooks explained the impact CMS rules have on their business, where it can sometimes take three physician visits to get the documentation to provide a device because O&P practitioner notes are not part of documentation.
The representatives from Allard shared the importance of access to O&P technology for patients, with Barnett showing Keating her brace and detailing the improvements it has made to her life.
The group also discussed with Keating the fact that non-licensed, non-accredited orthotic fitters can be reimbursed the same amount for an off-the-shelf product that practitioners are reimbursed for a custom-fitted device.
“That is what we should be looking at,” Keating said, adding that he would like to find out whether off-the-shelf suppliers are audited as aggressively as O&P practitioners/facility owners.
The meeting attendees reported that they felt Keating had understood and cared about their issues thanks, in part, to the varied experience and insight each member of the group was able to provide. – by Amanda Alexander
Disclosures: Robert Easterbrooks, Kathleen Easterbrooks, Keating, Decataldo, Thomas and Barnett report no relevant financial disclosures.