Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed SF364, Iowa State Licensure for Orthotists, Prosthetists and Pedorthists on April 27th, 2012, making Iowa the fifteenth state to begin regulating and licensing O&P professionals on the state level. The legislation becomes active July 1st, 2012. State licensure of O&P professionals is key to the state of Iowa providing consistent, high-quality care to patients and rooting out fraud and abuse within state Medicaid programs by moving toward only reimbursing licensed providers in the state. With an ever increasing number of elderly and physically impaired Iowans needing orthotic and prosthetic services, the legislation seeks to accomplish four main goals:
- Reduce instances of malpractice, Medicaid fraud and abuse
- Add a measure of protection and security for Iowans
- Standardize regulations for training and continuing education
- Achieve consistently higher quality service across all licensed disciplines
The Iowa Prosthetic, Orthotic and Pedorthic Association (IPOPA) was supportive throughout the process and actively engaged in the passage of SF364. IPOPA hired a lobbyist, who was supported by past President Rod Cheney, Ryan Ball from OPGA Government Relations and others in working with members in both the House and Senate to ensure passage of the bill in 2012. In order to gain passage, licensing of O&P professionals will be combined with the Iowa Board of Podiatry, which will add two new O&P members, making a nine person board. The bill exempts over-the-counter orthotics and does not impact the scope of practice of any other providers that are licensed by the state.
A brief recap of the legislative process to this point:
March 2011: Iowa Senate passes the bill in 2011 with a strong bipartisan vote of 37-12; the bill was then messaged to the House and referred to the State Government Committee.
April 2011: The legislation fell subject to a “funnel deadline” after not being passed by the House State Government committee and was deemed ineligible for the remainder of the 2011 session.
January 2012: House State Government Committee meets and subcommittee reassigned. March 2012: House State Government Committee passes the amended legislation 21-1; the bill is then referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, where it passed 24-1.
April 2012: Following House committee passage, the bill clears a “funnel deadline” and is eligible for vote by full House, where it received a 95-1 vote and was immediately messaged back to the Senate, which promptly passed the bill 39-10 with an amendment, messaging it back to the House for a final floor vote of 93-0.
April 24th, 2012: The bill is messaged to the Governor for his signature or veto.
April 27th, 2012: Governor Branstad signs SF364 into law, effective July 1, 2012.
Text of the final legislation can be found here.