Each year, thousands of people receive shoes and inserts via the therapeutic shoe bill. Medicare patients with part B coverage who are under the care of a Physician for Type I or Type II Diabetes and have one or more of the required conditions can receive approved diabetic footwear and inserts each calendar year.
While this benefit is available, there are unfortunately suppliers whom improperly bill or provide less than adequate shoe gear. So who do you trust your feet or your loved ones feet to offer appropriately fitting shoes and inserts? Here are a few tips to guide you:
Consult your Physician or Podiatrist for a resource. Many Podiatrists have shoes onsite or can offer you a referal along with a perscription for obtaining shoes and inserts.
Avoid mail order programs. The final fit is crucial to ensure an appropriate fit. Both feet need to be measured along with a review of each foot in consideration of accomodations for appropiate support. The shoes must be issued by a Certified Pedorthist, Orthotist or Podiatrist.
Patients living in skilled nursing facilities may have a person who will fit patients in the facility. Ask who is completing the fitting? Are they certified? Who will check to make sure the fit of the shoes and inserts are appropriate?
If you are referred to a therapeutic store location, facilities are now required to complete an accreditation process in order to bill Medicare for therapeutic shoes and inserts. This process must be completed every three years to ensure compliance. The accreditation requires standards that are grouped into categories and include topics such as:
- Organizational process
- Patient care
- Performance management
- Product safety
- Facility safety and supplier compliance
Each of these categories contains multiple standards unique to the specific type of accreditation an organization is seeking. For more information on accreditation, access www.abcop.org.
Accreditation is a privilege and can be revoked at any time. Once a location has been revoked, the location has sixty days to correct inadequacies then be reinspected. During this time, the facility will not be permitted to dispense therapeutic shoes and inserts and bill Medicare.
So the next time you or someone you know are in need of therapeutic shoes and inserts, do yourself a favor and ask questions. You have two feet – protect them!