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AOPA in Advance
Breaking News for O&P Professionals
March 20, 2012
Volume 16, Number 6
Willow Wood March 2012

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In This Issue
- AOPA Responds to VA and CMS Developments
- Insurance Fairness for Amputees Act of 2012 Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives
- With Policy Fights for O&P on All Fronts, AOPA Reminds Members to Attend this Election Year's Policy Forum
- Information about Personal Contributions by AOPA Members to Presidential Campaigns
- O&P PAC Corner
- Early Bird Registration: Chicago Essential Coding & Billing Techniques Seminar
- COPL Issues RFP for $15,000 Pilot Clinical Research Grants
- Amputee Coalition Requests Presidential Proclamation Designating April as "Limb Loss Awareness Month"
- Register for AOPA's April 11 Audio Conference, "Network and Market Your Way to Success"
- AAPC Approves 14 CEU's with AOPA's 2012 Mastering Medicare Seminars: Essential Coding & Billing Techniques
- Online Membership Management Available
- Check Out the AOPA Job Board for New Opportunities in O&P
- 2012 Bookstore Products Now Available
- People in the News
- Businesses in the News
- Send Us Your News!

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Phone: (571) 431-0835
Fax: (571) 431-0899
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AOPA Responds to VA and CMS Developments

On March 12, AOPA received a copy of the report from the VA OIG on procurement practices as to prosthetics.  Later that day we received a report regarding a meeting VA staff was invited to by  staff from the House VA Committee.  As referenced in the memo below, the staff of that Committee had asked the key VA staff to brief them about reported changes in the procurement practices and policies for prosthetics. AOPA believes that most readers will be very interested, and perhaps surprised and/or pleased with the events reported by the House VA Committee staff from that briefing.


Click here to read the memo about the events at the House VA Committee meeting.


Please note that while the summary mentions the more recent VA OIG report, the briefing for House VA Committee staff occurred before the release of the VA OIG report, so the two items should not be considered as either causative or related, and if there are inconsistencies, they may ultimately need to be reconciled.


Additionally, some of the key VA personnel are slated to attend the meeting of the O&P Alliance Steering Committee in Atlanta during the Academy meeting this week.


Also, on March 15, AOPA submitted its 479-page comments to CMS on that agency's draft list of off-the-shelf orthotics.  AOPA has also endorsed and signed onto very similar, but not identical comments submitted by the O&P Alliance. 


Click here to read the entire memo.


AOPA would like to thank its Coding and Reimbursement Committee, and AOPA Staff Joe McTernan and Devon Bernard for their yeoman efforts in establishing AOPA's position, to Tom DiBello and his team, including residents, who helped assemble the bibliography of relevant, supporting medical literature for those AOPA comments, and to Steve Fletcher and his team from the O&P Alliance for robustly presenting the position of the O&P field on this critically important issue.


AOPA will continue to keep you informed of events related to actions taken by both the VA and CMS.


Questions? Contact Catherine Graf at or (571) 431-0807.



Insurance Fairness for Amputees Act of 2012 Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives

Fresh on the heels of the Medicare O&P Improvements Act being introduced in the United States Senate, the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) is glad to announce its support for the introduction of the Insurance Fairness for Amputees Act of 2012 in the United States House of Representatives. This important legislation will assure patient access to appropriate orthotic and prosthetic devices by providing fair insurance coverage.  The House Insurance Fairness Bill, H.R. 4175, was introduced by the bipartisan team of Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA) and Rep Robert Andrews (D-NJ). A Senate version of the bill, S. 773, was introduced last year by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).


If passed, the Insurance Fairness for Amputees Act will reduce barriers to appropriate patient care such as restricted insurance coverage and payment caps on prosthetic and custom orthotic devices.  Increasing insurance coverage and patient access to the appropriate orthotic and prosthetic devices will enhance patient mobility and limit secondary health issues stemming from improper care, thus lessening the burden on Medicare and Medicaid.  


AOPA is proud to be partnering with the Amputee Coalition (AC) and nearly 25 other stakeholder groups in the disability field to champion passage of this critical piece of legislation. Thanks to the excellent advocacy efforts of the AC and other partners, the issue of O&P patient access to proper care has also gained importance across the country at the state level. At present a total of 19 states have passed similar insurance fairness legislation. In most of the state laws similar to the federal Insurance Fairness For Amputees Act, there is no mandate for insurers to provide coverage, but rather it is a truth-in-advertising measure that requires an insurer that chooses to include coverage of custom orthotics and prosthetics in their policy, to offer the same benefits as the plan's other surgical and medical coverage without lifetime limits or other caps.  Those states that have enacted comparable legislation have found minimal or no increases to insurance premiums and they have also reduced Medicaid and Medicare costs by avoiding the other health issues common when appropriate treatment is not made available to patients.  Thirty other states are actively considering prosthetic and custom orthotic insurance legislation.


AOPA will keep members updated as to the progress of this bill.


Questions? Contact Catherine Graf at or (571) 431-0807.



With Policy Fights for O&P on All Fronts, AOPA Reminds Members to Attend this Election Year's Policy Forum

The above items on the movement of O&P-related bills in legislatures on the state and national levels are more significant reasons why you should attend the 2012 AOPA Policy Forum, scheduled for April 17-18.


The government is dealing with a budget deficit and is looking for ways to make cuts so it is more important than ever to educate members of Congress on how orthotics and prosthetics restore lives and are an essential part of the healthcare system.  Legislators need to understand how continuing coverage of these benefits for your patients pays off in the long term.  Only you and your patients can carry the O&P message and ensure our voice is heard during this process.  


The 2012 AOPA Policy Forum is being held close to Capitol Hill, which is an ideal location for visiting the Nation's Capital and visiting your legislators.  Make a difference for the entire profession and enjoy our historic city, with easy access to all the attractions of our nation's capital from this ideal location.  All this for a low registration fee of only $125! 


Click here for more information about the 2012 AOPA Policy Forum. 

Click here to register for the 2012 AOPA Policy Forum.

Register for the Policy Forum as soon as possible so that our team is able to put together as many visits to as many Congressional offices as possible.

Questions? Contact Catherine Graf at or (571) 431-0807.



Information about Personal Contributions by AOPA Members to Presidential Campaigns

A first-time effort headed by members with solid political backgrounds to help coordinate member contributions to presidential primary candidates has taken form, separate from O&P PAC fundraising.  $25,000 in individual contributions has been pledged to date.  A specific focus on assuring that these contributions to the candidates from AOPA members be made in a manner connecting these individual contributions to the O&P community has characterized these efforts.  If one of the recipient candidates becomes our next president, the O&P community will be a traceable source for the donations.  It's the first effort ever for the O&P community to possibly have White House recognition.  Contributions may be directed at Republican primary candidates and/or presumably both parties would benefit in the general election.  Each of the campaigns have assigned a code to O&P which contributors must include on their check memo in order to be counted.


The presidential election campaigns have moved into high gear with the onset of the 2012 election year.  The decision is clearly an important one, and many folks feel there is a great value - if you are inclined to contribute to any candidate - do so in a manner that assures that your contribution is recognized as coming from a person interested in the orthotics and prosthetics field. Below you'll see the "Fund Numbers" that AOPA has secured for President Obama, three of the major Republican Presidential primary candidates, and an official website that accepts contributions for Rep. Ron Paul. These fund numbers have been set up and will identify contributors as folks committed to the importance of issues of limb loss and limb impairment, i.e., orthotics and prosthetics.


If you decide to contribute to ANY of the Presidential candidates, we encourage you to reference on the check the appropriate fund number for that candidate?  It will assure that in addition to your getting "credit" that the O&P field also is recognized for that support. 


                                    Candidate                     Fund Number

                                    Newt Gingrich                            5481                            

                                    Barack Obama                          4702570

                                    Ron Paul              AOPA

                                    Mitt Romney                             5767

                                    Rick Santorum                          1197


Questions? Contact Catherine Graf at or (571) 431-0807.


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O&P PAC Corner

The O&P PAC Corner provides updates on the activities of the O&P PAC, including the names of individuals who have made recent donations to the O&P PAC and the names of candidates the O&P PAC has supported. The O&P PAC recently received donations from the following AOPA member:

  • George Breece
  • John Ruzich CP, LP 

The O&P PAC recently made contributions to the following candidates: 

  • Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME): Co-Sponsor of the Medicare O&P Improvement Act of 2012 (S.2125)
  • Representative Pete Stark (D-CA, 13th District): Ranking Minority Member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee 

The purpose of the O&P PAC is to advocate for legislative or political interests at the federal level, which have an impact on the orthotic and prosthetic community.  The O&P PAC achieves this goal by working closely with members of the House, Senate and other officials running for office to educate them about the issues, and help elect those individuals who support the orthotic and prosthetic community.    

In order to participate in and receive information about the O&P PAC, federal law mandates that you must first sign an authorization form.            


Click here to view and sign an O&P PAC authorization form.


Questions? Contact Devon Bernard at  or (571) 431-0854, or Catherine Graf at or (571) 431-0807. 


Early Bird Registration: Chicago Essential Coding & Billing Techniques Seminar

The deadline to take advantage of early bird registration for the AOPAversity Essential Coding and Billing Techniques Seminar in Chicago, IL is almost here. Attendees who register prior to March 23, 2012 will receive a discount off the regular tuition price.


Don't miss out on this chance to save and join AOPA's coding and billing experts in Chicago. The seminar will be held at the Westin O'Hare on April 23-24. 


AOPA has secured the competitive room rate of $155 per night at the Westin O'Hare. Don't miss the opportunity to experience two days of valuable O&P coding and billing information, and earn 14 continuing education credits.


The Essential Coding and Billing Seminar includes breakout sessions for practitioners and administrators that will focus on each group's specific interests and educational needs including: how to create a chart audit, how to code for repairs/replacements, what modifiers to use, how to use an ABN and much more.


With the new revitalized format of the seminar, you now have the ability to submit your specific questions ahead of time and the AOPA experts will be sure to answer all these questions. Register for the seminar now to learn what you want to learn and what you need to learn.


Click here to register for the April 23-24 AOPA Essential Coding and Billing Techniques Seminar.


Questions? Contact Stephen Custer at (571) 431-0876 or or Devon Bernard at (571) 431-0854 or


COPL Issues RFP for $15,000 Pilot Clinical Research Grants 

The Center for O&P Learning and Evidence Based Practice (COPL) has issued the Request for Proposals 2012-2013 Opportunities for O&P Clinical Research grants funded by AOPA.  The grants have been doubled in size to attract more research interest and in keeping with prior protocol the COPL Board will review all submissions and recommend those proposals meriting funding to the AOPA Board of Directors.

Click here to access the RFP which includes an open category of a researcher's choice in addition to specified topics.

Deadline for submission is April 30, 2012 and it is expected the review process will be completed by June 30, 2012.


Amputee Coalition Requests Presidential Proclamation Designating April as "Limb Loss Awareness Month"

The Amputee Coalition submitted a Presidential proclamation request to President Obama to designate April as Limb Loss Awareness Month. This designation would give individuals in the limb loss community a time to rally together, support one another, educate the broader community about limb loss prevention, and raise awareness of issues members of the limb loss community face.


The Amputee Coalition is requesting that AOPA members assist with this project by sending emails in support of this request to the White House. 


Click here to read the full Call to Action with instructions on how you can help.


Click here to read the Amputee Coalition's Press Release.



Register for AOPA's April 11 Audio Conference, "Network and Market Your Way to Success"

The value of the relationship should never be underestimated.  Networking and marketing your business is vital to its success. Join AOPA on April 11th, 2012 at 1:00 PM EST for an AOPAversity Mastering Medicare Audio Conference that will focus on marketing techniques for your O&P practice. Learn strategies and techniques that may give you that all important edge in the competitive world of O&P. An AOPA expert will address the following issues during the Audio Conference:


  • The value of both networking and marketing to your O&P practice
  • Knowing how to reach out to the right people
  • Techniques that result in "out of the box" thinking
  • Building and maintaining relationships with referral sources
  • The importance of brand recognition in O&P 

The audio conference beings at 1 PM (EST), the cost of participating is $99 per line for AOPA members ($199 for non-menbers), and any number of employees may listen on a given line. Listeners can earn 1.5 continuing education credits by returning the provided quiz within 30 days and scoring at least 80 percent. Contact Devon Bernard at or (571) 431-0854 with content questions.


Click here to register for the audio conference.


Questions? Contact Stephen Custer at or (571) 431-0876.

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AAPC Approves 14 CEU's with AOPA's 2012 Mastering Medicare Seminars: Essential Coding & Billing Techniques

The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) supports its members to maintain a distinctive edge in their health care career by approving and providing 14 continued education credits by attending the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association's (AOPA) Mastering Medicare Seminar: Essential Coding & Billing Techniques. Don't miss out on your opportunity to attend the ever-popular Mastering Medicare Seminar; you have 3 more chances in 2012:

  • Chicago: April 23-24 at the Westin O'Hare
  • Seattle: August 6-7 at The Hyatt at Olive 8
  • Las Vegas: October 2012 with a location TBD 

Click here for more information.


Questions? Contact Devon Bernard at or call (571) 431-0876.



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Online Membership Management Available

Are you taking full advantage of your AOPA membership benefits?  Are your employees receiving their own copy of the AOPA In Advance Newsletter; does your staff know about the free online learning videos; white papers and monographs on various topics are also available. Make sure you and your staff are in the know by updating your membership record today.  We can add your company logo to the online membership directory just for the asking. 


Visit to update your membership account.  If you do not know your username and password contact email us at


Check Out the AOPA Job Board for New Opportunities in O&P   

If you need a position filled at your business or are interested in looking at other job possibilities within the O&P field, check out the AOPA Online Job Board. The online job board sports a freshly updated look and an easy-to-navigate profile creation system.

And remember: if you advertise on the Online Job Board and decide to also advertise in the O&P Almanac, then you'll receive a 5 percent discount on the cost of advertising in the Almanac and on the Job Board.


Questions? Contact Steven Rybicki at or (571) 431-0835.


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2012 Bookstore Products Now Available

AOPA's 2012 Products and Services Catalogue contains a comprehensive index of all events, resources, business solutions and products that AOPA provides. Make sure that your practice is taking advantage of all AOPA services that are provided at either no cost or reduced cost to members including AOPA's newsletters, the O&P Almanac magazine, business management monographs, meetings, webcasts, audio conferences, and reference manuals.


Click here to see AOPA's 2012 Products and Services Catalogue.


Questions? Contact Michael Chapman at or (571) 431-0843.


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The Only Up-to-the Minute O&P Newsline
People in the News

The Amputee Coalition announced the hiring of Steve Cox as its new director of finance and administration.


Hanger announced the recipients of the newly-established James Edward Hanger Awards of Excellence: 

  • Collaboration: Hanger's Mergers and Acquisitions Team, consisting of Mike Schlesinger, Craig Wright, Robert Rock, Margaret Boren, and Jeff Martin;
  • Customer Service: Randy Richardson;
  • Clinical Excellence:  Brian Heckathorn, CPO from Easton, Massachusetts and Matthew Luetke, CPO from Kansas City, Kansas ;
  • LeadershipKevin Carroll, MS, CP, FAAOP;
  • Pioneering Innovation: Hanger's AmpuShield Team, consisting of Steve Miller, CPO, Mike Duston, CP, John Rheinstein, CP, FAAOP, Anthony Potter, Shonn Goodwin, Stacey Whiteside, CO, Al Maciunas, CPO, FAAOP, Lori Pipinich, CP, and Wallis Faraday, LP, CP; and
  • Strategic FlexibilityDan Ruppa and Antony Ricketts.

Additionally, Hanger Orthopedic Group, Ivan R. Sabel and the Hanger Ivan R. Sabel Foundation have been named the inaugural recipients of Catholic Medical Mission Board's (CMMB) Global Health Care Leadership Award in honor of Hanger's 150th Anniversary and its humanitarian efforts in Haiti.


Íssur announced that it has been named among the "Most Innovative Companies in the World," according to the annual ranking by Fast Company magazine.


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Businesses in the News

Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics, Inc. announced that is has opened its eleventh patient care facility in Greenville, South Carolina.


The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC) announced the release of its 2011 Annual Report and its availability on the ABC website.


The Amputee Coalition announced that it is now accepting applications for the annual Christina Skoski, M.D., Scholarship until April 9, 2012. The fund will award a one-time, $1,000 scholarship to a student with congenital limb difference or limb loss who has a special desire to learn and exhibits potential for success. The scholarship is only open to undergraduate students who will be entering or who are already attending a 4-year college. Additionally, the group will present the first in a series of specialized educational events for the limb loss community on Saturday, April 21, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Atlanta, Georgia.


Georgia Tech announced that it will be celebrating its ten anniversary of its MSPO program on March 23 from 7:00 - 10:00 during AAOP Annual meeting in Atlanta.


The Orthotic & Prosthetic Activities Foundation (OPAF) announced that Cascade Orthopedic Supply of Chico, California is a 2012 Bronze Level Sponsor. Additionally, OPAF announced that Central Brace & Limb in Indiana hosted a First Dive Intro to Scuba Clinic.


Send Us Your News!
The next AOPA in Advance will arrive in your inbox on April 3. So if you have a new employee or a new office, tell us! Share your news with the over 15,000 readers of the O&P Almanac and AOPA In Advance newsletter. Contact Steven Rybicki at
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330 John Carlyle St., Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314
Tel: (571) 431-0876, Fax: (571) 431-0899