Footwear update missing

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

WASHINGTON - CMS still has not issued a footwear guidance update, but DME providers and pharmacists wondering about their status as qualified therapeutic footwear fitters are not standing still.
"Everybody is positioning themselves to present a product or program that would be approved, to give them status as qualified fitters," said Bill Popamaronis, the National Association of Community Pharmacists' vice president of long-term/home health care pharmacy services.
Many industry watchers had expected changes to the rule governing who may dispense therapeutic shoes in early 2005. Currently, a qualified supplier is defined as a podiatrist or "other qualified individual."
That has been interpreted to include pharmacists and HMEs. An update--when it happens--could limit qualified status to podiatrists, pedorthists, orthotists, prosthetitists or certified orthotic fitters.
Meanwhile, not just anybody can hang out a shingle as a qualified fitter.
"When you renew your national supplier number, you have to demonstrate that you have taken some course," said Popamaronis.
Courses can include manufacturer's training courses and BOC or ABC certifications.