AOPA Logo2
AOPA in Advance
Breaking News for O&P Professionals
May 29, 2012
Volume 16, Number 11
Willow Wood May 2012

Click here for more information

In This Issue
- VA House Committee Hearings Address AOPA Concerns about VA Policies
- AOPA and NAAOP Discuss VA Issues with House Oversight and Investigation Subcommitte
- AOPA Continues Push to Assure O&P Medical Device Tax Exemption
- Revisions to Medicare Local Coverage Determinations & Policy Articles
- Correct Coding for Concentric Adjustable Torsion Joints
- Complete the 2012 Operating Performance Report Survey Today!
- Register for Next Essential Coding & Billing Techniques Seminar in Seattle, WA August 6-7
- O&P PAC Corner
- Join the Excitement and Fun: Registration for the 5th Annual Wine Tasting & Auction is Open
- Register for AOPA's June 13 Audio Conference, "Improving Your Bottom Line"
- Registration Now Open for the 95th Annual AOPA National Assembly and Combined NE Chapter Meeting Historic Downtown Boston -- The Place to Be September 6-9
- Online Membership Management Available
- Check Out the AOPA Job Board for New Opportunities in O&P
- AOPA's 2012 Coding Products are Available!
- AOPA Members Now Save up to 30 Percent on UPS Next Day Air & International Shipping
- People in the News
- Businesses in the News
- Send Us Your News!

Contact Us

330 John Carlyle St., Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (571) 431-0835
Fax: (571) 431-0899
Newsletter Feedback
We invite your comments and questions. Please contact Steven Rybicki at or (571) 431-0835.
Featured Supplier Plus Partner of the Week:

 FLO-TECH Orthotic & Prosthetic Systems


AOPA Online
O&P Almanac

Find us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter  


Thank You!
The Board of the Center for Outcomes and Evidence-Based Practice in Orthotics and Prosthetics, representing eight different independent non-profit organizations in the O&P field, wishes to thank the  Board of Certification/Accreditation, International (BOC) for its recent gift of $5,000 in support of the Center's effort in the areas of evidence-based practice and outcomes research. The Center recently designated grant recipients for $60,000 in pilot clinical research grants in O&P as a further step in advancing this mission. 

VA House Committee Hearings Address AOPA Concerns about VA Policies

AOPA Board member, Michael Oros, CPO of Scheck and Siress accompanied by AOPA lobbyist Catriona Macdonald, testified before the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health on May 16, 2012 raising concerns about administrative barriers limiting care by non-VA providers, among other issues. His testimony pointed out the need for timely care that doesn't require the Veteran to travel hundreds of miles for that care and pointed out that older Veterans are particularly affected as they are more reluctant to pursue advocacy on their own behalf


Mr. Oros described three things the VA could do to provide more uniformly high quality care by (1) ensuring Veterans choice of providers; (2) support for the O&P master's degree program to expand the pool of qualified providers; and (3) support evidence-based practice by promoting comparative outcomes research.


AOPA was also able to provide a dozen examples of barriers to care, denial of care, and pressure applied to Veterans to receive their prostheses from in-house VA clinicians rather than contracted providers. The examples were gathered by AOPA member, Eric Eisenberg, MS, CPO, and provided to AOPA for the hearing without identification of the sources.


Members of the Committee agreed with AOPA that the VA Inspector General's cost comparison, suggesting that VA-fabricated limbs cost 25 percent of those made by private providers, was not an apples-to-apples comparison and not useful for policy purposes.


Opening testimony by two Veterans provided patient experience confirmation of the problems later raised by AOPA in its testimony. One Veteran who said that his care had been very good at VA facilities and with private providers described how he had recently been led to believe that he could only receive a high tech knee from the VA facility 70 miles away, and that is was available from his local provider only 7 minutes from his home. One of the Veterans proposed a common sense approach of freezing all plans to change how prosthetics are provided pending a top to bottom programmatic review of the VA prosthetics program.


Following the hearings, Mr. Oros and Ms Macdonald met with key VA officials and secured a commitment to a first step on that recommendation by bringing all the VA elements or prosthetic services together with the O&P community to have an "all in one room" discussion of issues to avoid the confusion over who does what, where and when.


The interests of O&P, and the O&P Alliance were well-represented at the hearing, as John Register, an amputee Veteran testified on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics. AOPA's counsel, Catriona Macdonald, had been approached by House VA Committee staff and in response to that request had provided background information to the staff which helped them in formulating some of the questions posed at the hearing, and it appears that NAAOP was similarly engaged by the VA Staff also.


Click Here for the detailed summary of the hearing.


Photos of the AOPA presence are also available here:


Michael Oros Testimony

Michael Oros and witness panel

VA House Health Subcommitee Panel 


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



AOPA and NAAOP Discuss VA Issues with House Oversight and Investigation Subcommitte

Thomas Fise, AOPA's Executive Director, Catriona Macdonald, AOPA Policy Advisor, Catherine Graf, AOPA staff and Peter Thomas, Esq. representing NAAOP, attended a meeting this week with the VA House Oversight and Investigation subcommittee.  The meeting was to discuss AOPA's participation in the upcoming Oversight and Investigation subcommittee hearing titled "Purchasing Paradox: VA's Prosthetics Paradox."  This hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, May 30th, at 4:00PM. More details will be made available after the hearing takes place. Michael Oros, CPO, Scheck and Siress, will again be testifying on behalf of AOPA at the May 30th hearings. 


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



AOPA Continues Push to Assure O&P Medical Device Tax Exemption

The US Treasury Department's Proposed Rule issued February 7, 2012 to implement the 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of medical devices reflected AOPA's belief that O&P devices, like the devices that are explicitly exempted by the Affordable Care Act -- eyeglasses, contact lenses and hearing aids -should be exempt under the Affordable Care Act's exemption for devices that are sold at retail for individual use. AOPA met with Treasury and IRS officials in January of 2011, prior to the proposed rule being issued to provide the rationale for exempting O&P devices.   Subsequently, the Proposed Rule did exempt O&P devices and confirmed that IRS and the Treasury Department initially agreed with AOPA's interpretation of the law. The ongoing challenge has been to make sure the final rule retains the O&P exemption and clarifies that both patient care facilities as well as manufacturers of components and other O&P suppliers are exempt from the tax.


AOPA provided written comments on the proposed rule. In addition, on Wednesday, May 16, AOPA's outside counsel, Stephanie Kennan of McGuireWoods, presented testimony on behalf of O&P patient care facilities, suppliers, manufacturers and distributors at a hearing convened by the Department of Treasury and IRS as they draft the final regulation. Ms. Kennan, in her testimony, reinforced AOPA's support for exempting O&P devices. AOPA's testimony asked for further clarification on two issues. The first issue is that component parts of O&P devices also be exempt from the tax. AOPA believes that to tax component parts would simply kick the collection of the tax further up the distribution chain and therefore subvert the intent of the exemption. The second issue AOPA asked for clarification on is to ensure that the term "administered by a medical professional" did not include fittings, adjustment and training of patients to use their device. The concern is that the way in which the proposed rule uses the phrase "administered by a medical professional" could make it less certain that O&P devices would be exempt from the tax. AOPA has argued that even the devices explicitly exempt from the tax include services of a professional to fit, adjust and train the individual to be able to use the device effectively.


AOPA along with AdvaMed, the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance, the Medical Device Manufacturers Association, Invacare and the American Association for Homecare testified at the IRS. After the scheduled witnesses were finished, the IRS permitted others in the audience to make brief statements. These groups included the Association of Blood Centers, HIDA, and Accenture. AOPA was unique in requesting clarification concerning the phrase "administered by a medical professional" and how that would relate to orthotics and prosthetics that otherwise would be included in the retail sales exemption. While one other witness raised the issue of component parts and whether they would be taxed, the circumstances raised were related to service contracts for large devices providing imaging services. Few questions were asked of any witness. The IRS panel did not indicate how they felt about the arguments raised by AOPA.


The initial Treasury/IRS draft reflected much input that AOPA had provided previously, dating back to January 2011, and the proposal recognized that O&P products would qualify for a special exemption from the tax applicable where finished medical devices, unique to the needs of specific patients are delivered at retail facilities to those patients for their use.


Other witnesses raised issues concerning the complexity of implementation and the lack of information technology to provide companies with all information needed to calculate the tax. Some witnesses asked for a delay in promulgating the rule. Such a delay is unlikely given the effective date of the tax in the Affordable Care Act.


Click here for the complete statement presented by Ms. Kennan.


Click here to read a summary of the hearing.


Photos of the AOPA presence are also available:


Stephanie Kennan

IRS Panel

Stephanie Kennan Testifying

Hearing Audience 


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



Revisions to Medicare Local Coverage Determinations & Policy Articles

The Durable Medical Equipment Medicare Administrative Contractors (DME MACs) have made some revisions to the AFO/KAFO, KO and External Breast Prostheses policies. The revised policies have an effective date of July 1, 2012 for the AFO/KAFO and KO policies and June 1, 2012 for the External Breast Prostheses policy.


Copies of the revised policies may be found on your local DME MAC website and you may click here to see a summary of the revisions.


Questions? Contact Joe McTernan at or (571) 431-0811 or Devon Bernard at or (571) 431-0854.



Correct Coding for Concentric Adjustable Torsion Joints

The Pricing, Data Analysis and Coding contractor (PDAC) and Durable Medical Equipment Medicare Administrative Contractors (DME MACs) have revised the coding guidelines for the use of concentric adjustable torsion joints when being used to provide an assistive function for joint motion.  


Click here to view the revised coding guidelines.


Questions? Contact Joe McTernan at or (571) 431-0811 or Devon Bernard at or (571) 431-0854.


Back to Top  


Complete the 2012 Operating Performance Report Survey Today!

The 2012 Operating Performance survey questionnaire was mailed to all members in mid-April. By completing the questionnaire you automatically reserve your FREE copy of the survey, your customized Company Report and you obtain an opportunity for a one-to-one consultation with AOPA's consulting experts, Industry Insights.


Industry Insights has conducted this survey for almost a decade and has a wealth of experience in analyzing the data and providing "top performer" comparisons with your own performance.  The lessons learned can be invaluable to your management decision making process and represents the most useful benchmarking information available in the O&P field.


Remember - all data is absolutely confidential and no one from AOPA or any other entity sees the data except the Industry Insight consultants who are bound by a strict confidentiality agreement. 


So why would you as a member pay $185 ($325 for non-members) for this "must have" information when you can get your own free copy?


There are three ways to participate - (1) Complete the hard copy survey questionnaire and return it to Industry Insights; (2) Go online to for the convenient "save and return" way of providing your data; or (3) Send your financial statements to Industry Insights and they will enter your data.


AOPA and Industry Insights conduct the Operating Performance Report survey every year.  In the odd number years such as this year, the Report is expanded to include the operating data plus the all important compensation and benefits information.  This is the year for reporting the entire package which makes it even more persuasive to participate and get the full benefit of your free report, analysis and personal consultation.

Leading this project are AOPA members chaired by Mike Hamontree including Candy Carlson, Craig Wright, Jim Weber, Avanindra Chaturvede, Mark Ford, and Michael Oros, joined by Industry Insight experts, Scott Hackworth and Michael Becher.

If you have any questions about how you can participate in this year's survey, contact Devon Bernard at or call (571) 431-0854.



Register for Next Essential Coding & Billing Techniques Seminar in Seattle, WA August 6-7

Join AOPA on August 6-7 at the Hyatt at Olive 8 in Seattle, Washington for the next AOPA Essential Coding and Billing Seminar. Many of your colleagues have already benefited from our previous seminars, but now it is your chance to benefit from the newly revamped Essential Coding & Billing Seminar.


AOPA has secured the competitive room rate of $174 per night at the Hyatt at Olive 8. 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 include 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 August 6-7 AOPA Essential Coding and Billing Techniques Seminar.


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



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 members*:

  • Michael Allen, CPO, FAAOP
  • Joan Weintrob, CPO 

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.    


*Due to publishing deadlines this list was created on 5/22/2012 and includes only donations received between 5/8/2012 and 5/22/2012.  Any donations received or after 5/22/2012 will be published in the next issue of the AIA.


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



Join the Excitement and Fun: Registration for the 5th Annual Wine Tasting & Auction is Open

Don't miss out on a fun and exciting evening with your colleagues, while raising money for AOPA's government relations programs on Friday, September 7 from 6:30-8:00 PM during the 2012 AOPA National Assembly in Boston, MA.  As with year's past there are some outstanding wines available for tasting and up for auction. There is sure to be something that sparks your interest or whets your whistle, whether it is champagne, pinot noir or cabernet. Some highlights of this year's auction include:

  • A Tiffany crystal serving tray
  • 1.5 Liter Prisoner and Saldo Zinfandel by Oren Swift
  • 1.5 Liter Vueve Cliquot Champagne
  • 2007 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet
  • And much more 

Still not sure you want to attend the wine auction, click here to view last year's lots, for a glimpse of what you can expect to find at this year's auction and tasting. Still not sure?  How about receiving a credit towards your winning bids? A portion of your registration fee will be credited towards your overall winning bid(s).


If you registered for the Assembly, but forgot to register for the wine tasting and auction, it is not too late!


Click here to register for the wine tasting and auction. 


If you cannot attend the auction, but still want to take part by donating an item for the auction click here to access the Wine Donation Form.


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



Register for AOPA's June 13 Audio Conference, "Improving Your Bottom Line"

Join AOPA on Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 at 1:00 PM EST for an AOPAversity Mastering Medicare Audio Conference that will focus and cover the basics of pursuing patients, receiving payments, and knowing when to cut your losses. Learn strategies and techniques from an AOPA expert who will address the following highlighted topics on the audio conference:


         Organizing collection activity chase

         Key terms to use when chasing payments

         The true meaning of the term "Usual and Customary Charge"

         Waiving coinsurance due to patient hardship

         Everything you can bill for


Don't miss this valuable opportunity to learn important strategies that you should have in place before you enter a contract negotiation.


The audio conference begins at 1 PM (EDT). 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 (571) 431-0876.



Registration Now Open for the 95th Annual AOPA National Assembly and Combined NE Chapter Meeting Historic Downtown Boston -- The Place to Be September 6-9

Registration is now open and you can get an online, sneak preview of the preliminary program.


Boston is the place to be as we build on our historic heritage and learn to prepare for the rapidly changing healthcare environment.  The clinical committee has been working hard to ensure the sessions will provide cutting edge science with clinical correlation to help expand our skills and improve patient care.  The meeting will kick off on Thursday, September 6 at 8:00 AM with two tiers of workshops or the option to partake in the Annual Fall Thranhardt Golf Classic.  All will meet back at the Hynes for the opening reception in the exhibit hall on Thursday evening.


The National Assembly is the country's oldest and largest show for O&P and the New England Chapter Meeting is considered one of the very best state meetings in the profession.  The combined efforts are sure to be of historical proportions.


Who Should Attend? O&P Practitioners, pedorthists, physicians, technicians, fitters, students, educational instructors, facility owners, marketing personnel, physical therapists, residents, office managers, billing specialists, researchers, engineers, manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of O&P products and services should come to Boston to stay on the cutting edge of their profession and to mix and mingle with other top professionals from across the country and around the world. Earn over 30 CE credits while learning at a fun, historical event. 


The 2012 combined meeting will be held at the Hynes Convention Center and adjoining Sheraton in historic downtown Boston.  The Hynes and connecting Sheraton hotel are located in the Back Bay neighborhood, which is considered affluent Boston at its best, boasting landmarks like Copley Square, the Prudential Center, and Fenway Park. Peruse boutiques on Newbury Street, stroll down Commonwealth Ave., or spend your evening out at one of the local lively bars or restaurants.


Boston-The Place to Be! Click here for more information.


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


Back to Top  


 Assembly 2011 Banner


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. Job seekers can: 

  • Search Jobs -- Access the newest and freshest jobs available to professionals seeking employment.
  • Post a Resume -- Post your resume online today! Whether you're actively or passively seeking work, your online resume is your ticket to great job offers!
  • Personal Job Alert -- Create Job Alerts and never let a matching job opportunity pass you by! New jobs that match your search criteria will be emailed directly to you.
  • Access Your Job Seeker Account -- Login to your account to begin managing your job search. Create and manage job alerts and view job offers from employers. 

Managers and recruiters can:

  • Post a Job -- Reach the most qualified candidates by posting your job opening on our online Career Center
  • View Resumes --Check out our resumes and only pay for the ones that interest you!
  • Products and Pricing -- Regardless of your staffing needs or budget, we have a recruitment product that's right for your business.
  • Access Your Recruiter Account -- Login to begin managing your online recruiting account. Post jobs to our site and browse candidates interested in your positions.

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.


Back to Top

AOPA's 2012 Coding Products Are Available! 

If you have not already done so, be sure to visit the AOPA Bookstore and order your copies of AOPA's 2012 coding products including:


The QuickCoder, which provides a speedy reference to the HCPCS codes for O&P, and includes a quick reference modifier page. The Quick Coder laminated cards are durable, long lasting and convenient to store.   


The Illustrated Guide is an easy-to-use and indispensable reference tool for your office, providing illustrations and descriptions of all the HCPCS codes for O&P. The Illustrated Guide features separate sections for orthotic and prosthetic devices and a handy glossary.


The CodingPro allows you to save time and improve the accuracy of your claims. CodingPro combines all the information of the Illustrated Guide with the functionality of a database, including an interactive glossary, medical necessity notes and fourteen individual fee schedule fields.


Purchase all three, the Coding Suite, and save!


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


Back to Top

AOPA Members Now Save up to 30 Percent on UPS Next Day Air & International Shipping

Take advantage of special savings on UPS shipping offered to you as an AOPA Member. Through our extensive network, UPS offers you access to solutions that help you meet the special shipping and handling needs, putting your products to market faster.


AOPA members enjoy discounts for all shipping needs and a host of shipping technologies. Members save: 

  • Up to 30% off UPS Next Day Air
  • Up to 30% off International Export/Import
  • Up to 23% off UPS 2nd Day Air
  • 70% or more on UPS Freight 

All this with the peace of mind that comes from using the carrier that delivers outstanding reliability, greater speed, more service, and innovative technology. UPS guarantees delivery of more packages around the world than anyone, and delivers more packages overnight on time in the US than any other carrier. Simple shipping! Special savings! It's that easy!


Click here to sign up today.


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

Hanger announced the hiring of the following people:

  • Daniel White, BOCO to its patient care clinic in Nashua, New Hampshire;
  • Sean Hembree, CP to its Santa Rosa, California patient care clinic;
  • Jerry Wilch, CPO to its West Palm Beach, Florida patient care clinic;
  • Thomas McNeese, Jr., CP to its Nashville, Tennessee patient care clinic; and
  • Anthony Williams, CO to its San Antonio, Texas patient care clinic. 

Snell Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory was named the 2012 Arkansas Business of the Year and its CEO, Rick Fleetwood, received the 2012 Arkansas Business Executive of the Year award.


Back to Top 
Businesses in the News

The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics, Inc. (ABC) announced its sponsorship of the first ever Technical Fabrication Contest offered by the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) and the Orthotic & Prosthetic Technological Association (OPTA) premiering at the AOPA National Assembly, September 6-9, 2012 in Boston. Contestants must fabricate a finished transtibial swim prosthesis which will be judged and displayed at the conference. Cash prizes will be awarded to the first ($500), second ($300), and third ($150) place winners in both the professional and student categories. A student is anyone currently enrolled in an Orthotic and Prosthetic Technician training program or who has graduated from such a program in the spring/summer of 2012.


The Board of Certification/Accreditation, International (BOC) announced upcoming changes to the educational and experiential prerequisites for its orthotist and prosthetist certifications. The new requirements, which will take effect on January 1, 2013, can be found by clicking here.


OPAF announced that the Special Opportunities in Advanced Rehabilitation (SOAR) recently hosted a First Dance clinic in the greater Detroit area. Additionally, First Volley Tennis has received grants from the United States Tennis Association.


OPIE Software announced the expansion of its Integrated Supplier program to include the functionality to order the products of Prosthetic Design Inc. (PDI).

Send Us Your News!
The next AOPA in Advance will arrive in your inbox on May 29. 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 Back to Top


330 John Carlyle St., Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314
Tel: (571) 431-0876, Fax: (571) 431-0899