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The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has killed a controversial proposal that would have restricted many physical therapists (PTs) from furnishing custom orthotics and prosthetics. The proposal was opposed by APTA and a host of other provider and patient advocacy organizations.

The proposed rule, issued in January, would have required PTs to be "licensed by the state [as a qualified provider of prosthetics and custom orthotics], or…certified by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics…or by the Board for Orthotist/Prosthetist Certification." The association voiced its opposition to the CMS plan, characterizing the proposal as a set of unnecessary requirements that would limit patient access to appropriate care.

The March 13 deadline for comments passed, and CMS issued no further communication on the proposal until last month, when a notice that the proposal was being withdrawn from the White House Office of Management and Budget’s “Unified Agenda” indicated that the proposal was no longer under active consideration by CMS. On October 3, notice that the proposal would be officially withdrawn appeared in the Federal Register, with the withdrawal document itself scheduled to be published the next day.

The withdrawal represents a win for thousands of PTs who would have been saddled with significant additional regulatory and financial burdens in order to qualify as a provider. In addition to its direct comments to CMS, APTA's advocacy efforts included meetings with CMS and the creation of a template letter to be used by many members to voice their individual opposition to the proposal.


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