“AAOS commends CMS for the decision to withdraw this harmful proposed rule,” stated Wilford K. Gibson, M.D., Chair of the AAOS Council on Advocacy. “It is critical for high quality patient care to have effective safeguards and protections. However, the proposed rule would have moved in the opposite direction from CMS’s stated objectives in recent years by decreasing coordinated care and reducing alignment of incentives and regulations. With this withdrawal, we look forward to properly addressing the coordination of high quality, integrated and seamless orthotic and prosthetic management care.”
“We received over 5,000 public comments in response to the January 12, 2017 proposed rule,” stated CMS. “In light of the cost and time burdens that the proposed rule would create for many providers and suppliers, particularly the cost and burden for those providers and suppliers that are small businesses, and the complexity of the issues raised in the detailed public comments received, we are withdrawing the January 12, 2017 proposed rule in order to assure agency flexibility in re-examining the issues and exploring options and alternatives with stakeholders.”
The original proposed rule included substantially more onerous qualifications needed for practitioners to furnish and fabricate prosthetics and custom-fabricated orthotics than current law requires. In response, AAOS submitted a formal comment letter urging CMS to maintain the current law’s standards and definitions of qualified providers, particularly recognizing that licensed physicians are, by virtue of training and practice, qualified to provide orthotics and prosthetics and should not be forced to obtain additional certifications.
“We strongly believe that Medicare is best served by expanding opportunities and incentives for orthopedic surgeons to lead the provision of orthotics and prosthetics, ably assisted by occupational and physical therapists,” the AAOS letter stated. “We believe the proposed rule in effect does the opposite, and makes it more difficult for surgeons to be a primary actor in providing and prescribing orthotic and prosthetic devices and we believe the proposed rule will setback patient care, not enhance or improve it.”
Read the entire AAOS comment letter online here.