ABC participated in the 2019 AOPA Policy Forum May 7-8th in Washington, D.C. Representing ABC were President-elect Rachael Friddle-Johnson, CPO, Treasurer Dennis Dillard, C.Ped, CTO, current Board Director-Public Member Anthony Sertick, Jr., JD, Executive Director Catherine Carter, Director of Clinical Resources Stephen Fletcher, CPO and Outreach Development Manager, Jim Lawson.
More than 100 O&P advocates came together at this year’s Forum to prepare for and meet with congressional representatives and their staff at over 250 scheduled appointments. Advocates encouraged the support and enactment of the Medicare O&P Patient-Centered Care Act. The Act helps address the recent Department of Justice indictments against 24 defendants responsible for losses to Medicare through fraudulent schemes involving lead generation marketing to deliver medically unnecessary or unwanted orthoses. This legislation would distinguish O&P patient care encounters from durable medical equipment, re-assert the congressional definition of ‘minimal self-adjustment’ for off-the-shelf orthotics and exempt licensed and certified O&P providers from competitive bid contracts. Participants also asked for the enactment of the Wounded Warrior Workforce Enhancement Act, which improves O&P care for wounded warriors by ensuring an adequate workforce through grants provided to O&P education programs.
New this year was a luncheon keynote. John Register, four-time track and field all-American, Gulf War Army veteran and Paralympic silver medalist spoke to attendees about his continued battle to overcome adversity and turn obstacles into opportunities.
Additionally, ABC, NCOPE and the Academy once again sponsored breakfast for all current and alumnus O&P students participating in the Forum. The breakfast serves as an opportunity to provide education and mentoring to support and enhance the students’ experience at the Policy Forum and on Capitol Hill.
As a result of these united advocacy efforts, many Congressional representatives agreed to co-sponsor the Medicare O&P Patient-Centered Care Act upon its introduction and the Wounded Warrior Workforce Enhancement Act was introduced with eight cosponsors in the House and seven in the Senate.
ABC was proud to participate in the Policy Forum and represent the O&P profession on Capitol Hill. For additional information or to learn how you can participate in next year’s Forum, please visit AOPAnet.org.