President proposes bidding for O&P

Plan for fiscal year 2017 also includes urologicals, ostomy and inhalation drugs
Monday, March 21, 2016

WASHINGTON – Stakeholders say they’ll stay vigilant, but the president’s proposed plan to include all orthotics and prosthetics as part of Medicare’s competitive bidding program shouldn’t cause panic.

“We just don’t think that, overall, this is an environment in which we will see the government willing to mandate that amputees are going to receive their prosthetic devices from the UPS guy in a box to fit themselves,” said Tom Fise, executive director of the American Orthotics & Prosthetics Association. “I think this is just something that’s been kind of hanging around and, unfortunately, popped into the budget.”

The proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2017 also recommends that inhalation drugs, and ostomy, tracheostomy and urological supplies, all be included in the program.

Expanding competitive bidding to these additional product categories would save $3.8 billion over 10 years, the budget states.

“Since implementation, the competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, and supplies has saved the Medicare program and beneficiaries billions of dollars by aligning payment amounts with market-based prices,” the budget states.