“We must continue to educate those around us with or without disabilities. The louder our voice, the more they have to listen.” – Mary Seelhoff
The 2016 AOPA Policy Forum and O&P Legislation Writing Congress was a success, with many notable initiatives drafted for the O&P industry. The annual Policy Forum is a two day event held in Washington, DC hosted by the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association. The event focuses on the latest legislative and regulatory happenings and how they will affect you, your business, and your patients. This year, those who attended broke into groups to discuss their highest priorities for legislation. The result was the “Prosthetic and Orthotic Care Modernization Act of 2016.” This act focuses on separating O&P from DME, reimbursing only credentialed O&P providers, protecting custom O&P products from competitive bidding, and rescinding last year’s LCD.
At this year’s Policy Forum, Cascade represented not only the O&P business sector, but also the amputee population. In attendance from Cascade was President, Jeff Collins and Pacific Southwest Account Manager, Andy May (an industry advocate and BK amputee). For the second year in a row, Cascade sponsored Mary and her son Andrew Seelhoff (a 15 year old AK amputee) to attend the event. For Andrew and Mary, the Policy Forum was an opportunity to get involved and ensure the future of proper amputee care. Before attending the forum in 2015, Andrew and Mary were aware the system was flawed, but they had no idea how extensive the problem was. According to Mary, “The education we continue to receive and the knowledge we now have is priceless. As a mother, I think about the issues presented at the forum every day and I can’t help but feel terrified for my son’s future without the Policy Forum. I have to worry about what happens to my son when I am no longer here. He knows he will need to continue this fight on his own and how important it is for him to always be connected to AOPA – not only for himself, but for those who don’t have the opportunity to attend the event and fight for their rights.” The Policy Forum allows families like the Seelhoff’s, O&P Professionals like Jeff, and amputee’s like Andrew and Andy to discuss their concerns with Congressmen/women and Senators from across the United States, in hopes of spurring change and fair treatment for those with disabilities.
The opportunity to engage elected officials gives attendees reassurance they are not alone, that people are listening, and they are making an impact. Andy May stated, “Last year we had a big scare with the LCD policy changes, which attempted to make one leg style for all amputees and deny us access to the technology we need. This was met by huge protests from amputees, AOPA, and other organizations in O&P. The policy forum allows us to discuss these things with our elected officials so we can ensure that things like the LCD policy do not re-occur.” The AOPA Policy Forum continues to provide an opportunity for citizens and professionals to join together and take a stand on Capitol Hill.
Cascade remains committed to advocating for the O&P industry and carrying the voice of those with disabilities.
For more information on the AOPA Policy Forum: Click Here