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American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association Files Lawsuit Alleging Unlawful Changes in Medicare Standards Resulting in Unfair RAC/Prepayment Audits

On May 13, 2013, the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (“AOPA”) filed suit in the federal district court for the District of Columbia against the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (“CMS”), alleging that payment denials by CMS and its Recovery Audit Contractors (“RAC”) are invalid. The lawsuit states that CMS rules call for denial of payment for a prosthetic device if specific documentation from the prescribing physician is not obtained by the supplier of the prosthetic device, despite the fact that other documentation shows that the device is medically necessary.

The complaint alleges that new standards issued on CMS’ contractor websites in a “Dear Physician” format are void because they did not go through the rulemaking process with a public notice and comment period. The complaint also argues that CMS changed its standard – where before records of prosthetists (deemed professionals) were accepted to show medical necessity with the same deference given as that afforded to other medical records, including physician records. Further, the complaint alleges that the posting of the “Dear Physician” Letter and subsequent enforcement of it is arbitrary and capricious. Additionally, the AOPA expresses frustration with CMS’ inaction and lack of enforcement against physicians who do not provide prosthetists with the required documentation. In essence, the complaint argues, the physician has no skin in the game as no incentive exists for him to provide appropriate documentation.

The full complaint can be found here.

For questions regarding this complaint filed by the AOPA or RAC/Medicare payment audit questions generally, please contact Jessica Gustafson, Esq., or Abby Pendleton, Esq. at(248) 996-8510, or jgustafson@thehlp.com or apendleton@thehlp.com.

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