The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP) has released a new video webcast in which NAAOP General Counsel Peter W. Thomas, JD, provides a briefing on two different hearings that took place in May regarding two reports issued in March by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG). One report involves prosthetic procurement, the number of individuals with amputations served by the VA, and the different setting of care for their O&P services. The other report involves outside contractors that provide prosthetic services to the VA.
The hearings allowed a venue for NAAOP, the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA), other O&P stakeholders, veteran service organizations, and others to comment on what these reports actually say and what they mean going forward.
The U.S. House of Representatives VA Subcommittee on Health hearing took place May 16 and focused on access to care and the internal capacity the VA has to provide O&P services and how that capacity has been increasing in the recent past as the VA beefs up its resources in that area, Thomas said. It also delved deeply into patient access to private practitioners and began to exam the issue that is central to H.R. 805, the Injured and Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights—requiring the VA to post the list of rights for amputees and others who need O&P care in every VA facility that treats patients of this nature and make sure they understand they have the right to see their practitioner of choice and to access the technology that meets their needs.
The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommitte on Oversight and Investigations hearing took place May 30, and delved into Title 38 United States Code Section 8123, Procurement of Prosthetic appliances, which passed in 1957, Thomas said. Section 8123 allows the VA to contract with any private practitioner for veterans’ “prosthetic appliances and necessary services” without respect to any other provision of law. According to Thomas, there was some concern that perhaps the VA was not taking all of the proper routes to contracting and getting the best resources for the monies spent. Thomas said the hearing went quite well and explained that the O&P care and services provided by the VA really stems from the physician’s prosthetic prescription and the patient’s choice in accessing the provider of choice.
The webcast is posted on the NAAOP website, is shared with members via e-mail, and made available through the NAAOP page on Facebook.