The Future

We're championing orthotics and prosthetics for the next 100 years.

Initiatives and Projects AOPA is Working On to Secure Future Success for You and Your Patients

Learn how AOPA and its members are securing your future with the following initiatives:

1. Legislative Solutions (The Medicare O&P Improvement Act)

2. Research

3. Education and Communicating O&P’s Value Proposition

4. Securing Fair and Equitable Reimbursement

Rome wasn’t built in a day which is a reminder that achieving great results requires passion, perseverance and patience. AOPA has a long history of advocacy efforts to resolve basic issues that have hindered the O&P community’s efforts to achieve the best outcomes for patients and a favorable business environment for our members.

Here are some of the ongoing or newly developed initiatives and projects designed to infuse the future with solutions to some of O&P’s most vexing problems.

1. Legislative Solutions for Your Future

To borrow another cliché – “close only counts in horseshoes.” That certainly describes the frustration experienced when the 2016 Lame Duck session of the 114th Congress failed to include provisions of the Medicare O&P Improvement Act in either the Continuing Resolution that kept the government open through mid-April or the 21st Century Cures Act, both signed into law by President Obama as this Congress drew to a close. How close we came to success made for a nail biting last few days of the Lame Duck session. O&P was closer than ever before in seeing long sought O&P legislative solutions enacted.

The Medicare O&P Improvement Act would:

All of the players are in place to pursue the introduction of similar bills in the next Congress in both the Senate and House that would set the stage for another all-out effort to enact the 115th Congress’ versions of S. 829 and HR 1530. AOPA’s president, Michael Oros, CPO, FAAOP, upon hearing the news that we didn’t make it across the finish line, emailed AOPA Executive Director, Tom Fise saying, “While this is certainly disappointing it's not entirely unexpected. After the Holidays I look forward to working together on our new campaign to get this thing over hump once and for all.”

Former Senator Bob Kerrey who pushed and pushed until the very end also pledged his continued support for early action in the 115th Congress. Most of the by now well-educated lawmakers and staff members who almost brought it across the finish line this session will be similarly committed to an early passage effort in 2017. His comment on learning of the disappointing result was "we are in very good shape to get this done in 2017...Let's keep pushing!!!"

2. Research Solutions for Your Future

Prosthetics 2020:
Recognizing CMS’ commitment to moving in the direction of value-based purchasing, AOPA has introduced Prosthetics 2020 as a forward-looking commitment to meet the challenges inherent in proactive change.

Prosthetics 2020 created in 2015 quickly identified objectives to include:

Overseeing the efforts of the O&P volunteer community is a multi-disciplinary Medical Advisory Board representing orthopedic surgery, vascular surgery, physical and rehabilitation medicine and biomedical engineering and research to help ensure the efficacy of the efforts.

Prosthetics 2020 currently has seven sponsors funding the project including Endolite, Freedom Innovations, Hanger, Ossur, Ottobock, Scheck and Siress, and WillowWood.

Dobson DaVanzo Landmark Cost Effectiveness Study
The initial study commissioned by the Amputee Coalition and funded by AOPA in 2011 retained Dobson DaVanzo, a noted health care consulting firm, to conduct a socio-economic/cost-effective ness of care study to quantify the value of orthotic and prosthetic services. The initial study included Medicare claims data for 2007-2010. The project has expanded with the inclusion of Part D data to track the impact of timely O&P intervention on drug costs and adding Medicare claims data from 2011 through 2014.

RAND Corporation Value Simulation
RAND will estimate the economic impact of advanced prostheses including dynamic response (energy storing and release) foot, microprocessor controlled ankle foot system, and powered ankle foot system. RAND will examine the economic impact along several dimensions including osteoarthritis, falls and obesity. Other impacts of advanced prosthetics will be explored based on the published literature or expert consultations. The results will be incorporated into the final report that covers both advanced transfemoral and transtibial prosthetics. Recognizing that CMS has stated its commitment to a shift to ‘value-based purchasing', AOPA believes that this report may well be landmark, first and foremost in using modeling and simulation to help define the economic value proposition for prosthetic care prospectively and in the broadest terms (going beyond the dramatic conclusions previously established via the retrospective, Medicare dollars expended view of the Dobson-DaVanzo work, to also embrace implications as to long-term tax, employment, and reduction or elimination of patient reliance on social/safety net programs), and potentially even pointing toward possible new reimbursement approaches, pilot and demonstration-type projects that could be pursued for O&P through the CMS Innovation Office.

Pilot Grant Program Expanded in 2016
Since 2009 AOPA in collaboration with the Center for O&P Learning and Evidence-Based Practice (COPL) has awarded three or four smaller pilot grants annually that are intended to be the launching pad for more sophisticated research projects in O&P. The grants are capped at $15,000 each. In 2016 the quality of responses to the Request for Proposal were so compelling COPL recommended funding a total of seven grants for which AOPA increased the budget accordingly.

National Patient Registry
AOPA’s Board of Directors authorized a collaboration with the American Joint Replacement Registry to explore development of a National Patient Registry to track the outcomes of patients receiving O&P care. Funding was authorized by the AOPA Board to create the initial effort which has led to submission of a proposal for longer term funding under funds authorized in the Department of Defense budget for the last three budget years. These funds were included in the DoD budget as a direct result of AOPA’s consultant working with Senator Durbin’s (D-IL) staff to authorize $10 million for O&P research in each of the three years.

3. Education and Communicating O&P’s Value Proposition

Mobility Saves Lives and Money
The Mobility Saves Website has been continually updated to be the “go-to place” for all pertinent information on the value of timely O&P intervention based on AOPA’s investment in research and the results of the deep dives of Dobson DaVanzo and RAND Corporation into Medicare claims data and simulation modeling capturing the broader economic impact of care that includes costs related to re-employment, prescription drug costs, falls and other factors and co-morbidities.

2017 will further document the cost effectiveness as additional research findings add more and more value-based data in outcomes research.

4. Securing Fair and Equitable Reimbursement

AOPA Co-Op Project
Making sure each and every AOPA member has access to vital information regarding reimbursement policies that frequently change is the goal of a special project launched in late 2016. Initially called the compendium project, it will create a one stop shopping experience that can be accessed 24/7 to provide the definitive available information from state and federal sources on how to get paid.

Experts on Call
AOPA’s expert reimbursement counselors will continue assisting members with the more challenging reimbursement issues on a one on one basis just a phone call or email away.
This members’ only website is another 24/7 resource for coding questions on specific devices and products and complements the compendium project and the one-on-one expertise available to members.

Coding & Billing Seminars
More than 400 O&P professionals each year take advantage of the four geographically convenient Mastering Medicare: Essential Coding & Billing Techniques Seminars that provide the most solid foundation available in a two day seminar geared for clinicians and administrative personnel. AOPA members have learned that building and maintaining their reimbursement knowledge skills can mean serious dollars in knowing how to code properly but when denials occur, how to successfully overturn.