Dear AOPA Member,
AOPA was contacted by an Associated Press reporter about two weeks ago regarding his plans to publish an article raising questions about the increasing per capita cost of prosthetic feet provided to Medicare beneficiaries in 2010 as contrasted to lower costs in 2005, despite a slight decline in the number of Medicare amputee beneficiary recipients of those devices.
That article appeared yesterday and more spin off stories have already appeared today. Please access the original AP story by clicking the link below.
AP story link
AOPA president Tom DiBello and I spoke with the reporter for slightly over an hour about ten days ago. Despite information we provided, the reporter continues to make it appear that all Medicare beneficiaries are diabetics and he also quotes the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General's (OIG) Report which asserts that the absence of patient contact with the original referring physician should raise suspicions of fraud, when in fact we informed him that the original referring physician is most frequently the surgeon who performed the amputation who seldom has any further significant long term contact with the patient after the patient is discharged from surgical care.
He also ignores the fact that over the five year period O&P's collective fee schedule increases account for a 12 percent increase in the cost of identical services. The article does underscore the critical importance of outcomes data and other evidence-based studies such as the comparative effectiveness study on prosthetic feet which is now underway with AOPA/manufacturer sponsorship. Additional research on K-3 level patients may also be a prudent topic for our subsequent consideration.
The link below will take you to a five page talking points document which includes key information we provided to the reporter as well as more detailed background on the OIG Report and its flaws. This information may be helpful in the event you receive questions from patients or reporters.
Click Here for Talking Points
We will keep you informed of any further significant developments.
Thomas Fise, Executive Director