Problematic Orthotics and Prosthetics Rule Withdrawn: Your Medicare Advocacy Worked

AOTA Staff

Your Medicare advocacy worked! AOTA just learned that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has withdrawn the proposed rule regarding custom fabricated orthotics and prosthetics. The problematic proposal would have lifted the long-standing exemption for occupational therapists and physical therapists from the accreditation and quality standards applied to suppliers who furnish and fabricate orthotics and prosthetics for Medicare beneficiaries.

The withdrawal of this proposed rule reflects recognition by CMS that occupational therapy practitioners are qualified professionals already subject to significant Medicare regulatory requirements as well as state licensure requirements.

The comment period for the proposed rule closed on March 13, 2017, and CMS received almost 4,600 comments, thanks in part to the letter writing campaign initiated by occupational therapy practitioners and other therapy professionals. 

In February, AOTA alerted members of the proposed rule and urged them to write comments. AOTA also closely collaborated on grassroots advocacy with the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) immediately following publication of the proposed rule in January. In addition, AOTA and APTA met with CMS agency staff at CMS headquarters in July to emphasize our concerns and urge CMS to choose not to finalize the proposed rule as written.

Thank you to everyone who helped to get this proposed rule withdrawn.

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