OPEIU Backs Legislation Supporting Podiatric Physicians
President Goodwin Applauds Effort to Increase Health Care Access While Controlling Costs
NEW YORK, Nov. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), AFL-CIO applauds Representatives Lee Terry of Nebraska and Diana DeGette of Colorado for introducing critical bipartisan legislation that would increase access to podiatric care and save billions of dollars in the process. The Equity and Access for Podiatric Physicians Under Medicaid Act (HR 3364) would identify podiatrists as physicians under Title XIX (the Medicaid Provision) of the Social Security Act, making it easier for low-income individuals to get the foot care they need.
“Coverage of podiatry under Medicaid would provide easier access to care for patients while saving the government money,” said Michael Goodwin, International President of OPEIU. “The most cost-effective healthcare system is one that helps people stay healthy in the first place and HR 3364 would go a long way to improving access to necessary care for millions of Americans,” Goodwin added.
Representing more than 4,500 podiatrists across the country, OPEIU has joined forces with the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) to convince Congress to allow Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) to be reimbursed equally under Medicaid as they are under Medicare. HR 3364 is the companion to S 1309 introduced last summer by Senators Schumer and Grassley.
Two independent studies, one from Thomson Reuters examining podiatrist care and outcomes for patients with diabetes and foot ulcers and a six-year study from Duke University supporting the effectiveness of podiatrists as part of a multidisciplinary care team, indicate that billions in annual savings would result from seeing a podiatrist and the avoidance of unnecessary hospitalization or prevention of lower extremity amputations.
The Office and Professional Employees International Union represents more than 125,000 members in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. OPEIU represents employees and independent contractors in banking and credit unions, insurance, higher education, shipping, hospitals, medical clinics, utilities, transportation, hotels, administrative offices and more.
Professional organizations and Guilds affiliated with OPEIU are a diverse group that includes physicians, pharmacists, chiropractors, appraisers, podiatrists, clinical social workers, acupuncturists, hypnotists, teachers and helicopter pilots. For more information on OPEIU visit www.opeiu.org
SOURCE Office and Professional Employees International Union, AFL-CIO (OPEIU)