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Failure to submit Medicare MIPS quality measures will cost physicians tens of thousands of dollars. In 2018, podiatrists have to submit quality measures all year and not for just a 3-month window, like in 2017. Also, the penalty for not submitting increased to 5% of Medicare payments. However, podiatrists should appreciate that performing MIPS measures may also allow billing for office visits and will increase awareness of when balance AFOs, payable by Medicare, should be prescribed.


MIPS quality measures 154, falls risk assessment and 155, falls, plan of care, address falls being the leading cause of injuries for older adults. One in four Americans aged 65 and over falls each year. By identifying people with gait instability, podiatrists can reduce this risk and make fall prevention a valuable part of their practice.

Physicians should annually, ask every patient, 65 and over, whether they have fallen in the past year. If so, they should follow-up by asking how many times and if the patient suffered an injury. Patients who have fallen two or more times or once with injury are defined to be at high risk.

These patients should be evaluated using a fall risk assessment form available from SafeStep.
Gait, strength and balance are assessed by having patients perform a “Timed Up and Go Test”. Patients stand, walk 10 feet, turn around and sit down. If TUG takes more than 12 seconds, there’s a good chance such conditions as: muscle weakness, difficulty walking or unsteadiness on feet are present.

MIPS 154 also requires assessing another contributing factor to falling including:
• a review of medications, or
• asking if the patient has had an eye exam in the past year, or
• reviewing other possibly contributing medical conditions, or
• determining the presence of postural hypotension.

Patients should be provided with a Plan of Care that includes balance, strength and gait training instructions, advice about vitamin D and information about home fall hazards. To make it easy, when using the assessment form available from SafeStep, simply tear off and give the patient a sheet that’s part of it.

When patients have NOT fallen two or more times or once with injury, submit MIPS quality measure 154 using CPT code 1101F.

If patients at high risk for falls are evaluated and provided a plan of care, consider billing E&M code 99213. Also submit codes 3288F and 1100F for MIPS 154 and 0518F for MIPS 155.
When there is fall risk, based on gait assessment, consider prescriptions for balance footwear, foot orthotics and possibly balance AFOs.

SafeStep has available, for free, copies of a Fall Risk Assessment form that assists in satisfying the MIPS fall prevention requirements. Medicare compliance documentation for AFOs can be best assured by using SafeStep’s WorryFree DME program.

Medicare DME Reimbursement Increases in 2018

Good news!
On January 1, 2018, Medicare increased the amount it pays for diabetic shoes, Moore Balance Brace and Arizona custom AFOs.

While the amounts paid may vary slightly by state, the National Fee Schedule is as follows:
Depth Shoes (A5500): pair $143.12
Prefabricated, Heat Molded Inserts (A5512): pair $58.38
Custom Molded Inserts (A5513): pair $87.12
Depth Shoes w/3 pr. Prefab, Heat Molded Inserts: $318.26
Depth Shoes w/3 pr. Custom Molded Inserts: $404.48
Custom Molded Shoes w/offset heels and rocker bottoms: $570.38
Arizona AFO, Standard (L1940, L2330, L2820): each – Ceiling $1178.61 Floor $883.96
Moore Balance Brace (L1940, L2330, L2820): pair – Ceiling $2357.22 Floor $1767.92

For a complete listing of updated DME allowables, including prefabricated and custom ankle-foot orthoses, visit:


Failure to submit Medicare MIPS quality measures will cost physicians tens of thousands of dollars. In 2018, podiatrists have to submit qualify measures all year and not for just a 3-month window, like in 2017. Also, the penalty for not submitting increases to 5% of Medicare payments. However, podiatrists should appreciate that performing MIPS measures may also allow billing for office visits and will increase awareness of when shoes and inserts, payable by Medicare, should be prescribed.

MIPS quality measures 126 and 127, diabetic foot exam including evaluation of footwear, address the association of neuropathy with diabetic foot ulceration. Properly fit shoes have been demonstrated to significantly reduce the likelihood of foot ulceration in patients with diabetes. By identifying people who qualify for shoes paid for by Medicare, podiatrists can make shoe fitting a valuable part of their practice.
Podiatrists should annually perform an ulcerative risk assessment on every patient with diabetes. A CDFE should include testing for loss of protective threshold using a 10-gram monofilament plus at least one of the following neurological exams including feeling vibration using a tuning fork, pinprick sensation, or ankle reflexes. Testing should also look for vascular, dermatological and structural findings. The foot should be sized using a standard measuring device, and the patient counseled on appropriate footwear based on risk categorization.

Patients with Medicare and diabetes who are identified to be at increased risk for ulceration should be fit with shoes and inserts. Shoe fitting will be most successful when patients are recommended models based on the consideration of what’s referred to as the 4 S’s of shoe fitting: Size, Shape, Stability & Style.

When patients with diabetes are given a comprehensive diabetic foot exam and provided a plan of care, which may include prescribing shoes, consider billing E&M code 99213. Also, submit codes G8404 for MIPS 126 and G8410 for MIPS 127.

SafeStep has available, for free, copies of a CDFE form that assists in satisfying the MIPS diabetic foot examination requirements. Medicare compliance documentation for diabetic shoe-fitting can be best assured by using SafeStep’s WorryFree DME program.

To access SafeSTep training and webinars, visit:

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Essentials For Diabetic Shoe Fitting Success By Josh White, DPM, CPed

I recently visited a team a podiatrist’s office. They have been a part of the Therapeutic Shoe Program and fitting diabetic patients with shoes for many years. I appreciated their interested in learning how they could improve what could be considered a “good” shoe program, and in going from “good” to “better” or even “great.”

All staff members were encouraged to attend, including: the front office person, who is the eyes and ears of the practice, and who reminds the doctors which patients have diabetes and are due for an annual comprehensive diabetic foot exam (CDFE); the fitting person, who measures, fits and laces patients’ shoes – critical to the program’s success.

We reviewed how the Medicare Therapeutic Shoe Program provides win – win – win benefits for all: patients benefit by getting shoes they need for little or no cost, by doing so, they also decrease their risk for ulceration and amputation, and the office makes money while improving patient satisfaction (and Medicare actually reduces costs).

We reiterated the importance of clearly defining each step in the evaluation and shoe fitting process, and confirmed that while there could be more than one person performing each task, there must be a single person responsible for its execution.

And lastly, we defined the metrics for determining the success of each step – as well as for the program overall.

Here are the steps and how to determine successful execution:

  • Determine the number of patients in the practice with Medicare and diabetes. Every patient should have a dedicated visit for an annual comprehensive diabetic foot evaluation (CDFE) scheduled on a separate visit. This visit can performed by or overseen by the DPM and billed as 99213 if a predisposing condition of ulcerative risk is determined and a plan of care prescribed. Printed copies of the CDFE form are available, for free, from SafeStep upon request. Here is a link to the form: Note: Someone should track the number of CDFE exams performed (on an ongoing basis), and compare it to the number of patients with diabetes in the practice.
  •  Conservatively, 75% of patients with Medicare and diabetes will have a qualifying risk factor and should be prescribed therapeutic shoes. When scheduling patients, either have a shoe fitting person in the practice available to assist on that day or consider OHI’s Central Casting Program, an on-site Pedorthic service availing Certified Pedorthist to assist podiatrists with examining, casting and fitting patients.
  • Every shoe fitter and CPed should use the “4S’s approach to shoe fitting” which are: Size, Shape, Stability, Style to fit and pair the shoes that meet each patients’ aesthetic desires and therapeutic needs. It’s important to have shoe samples in the styles patients most prefer, and to update them periodically. Fitting displays or a small fitting inventory will go a long way to improve fitting success and patient satisfaction. Patients whose fitting needs exceed what’s possible with depth shoes should either be casted for custom molded shoes or referred to a local footwear clinic. The SafeStep website displays the practice’s “Fit Rate”. If not 85% or better, help is available to fit at least as well as is done by the average office.
  • Use SafeStep’s WorryFree DME program to create Medicare compliance documentation and to procure required authorization from the certifying MD physician. SafeStep’s team of professionals and dedicated services help you save time, and build your practice.
  • When dispensing shoes, emphasize to patients the importance of daily footcare and self-examination to check for signs of ulceration. Encourage them to wear their fitted shoes and inserts as a preventative measure, and to return on an annual basis to be re-evaluated for replacement shoes each year.
  • The true indicators of a successful diabetic shoe program is when the number of shoes fitted increases each year, and the number of wounds treated decreases. While some practices have been deterred from fitting shoes because of the effort required and concerns about Medicare audits, many enjoy the success that this preventative care indicative was intended to achieve. Read the article “Keys for Success for Fitting Diabetic Shoes” to learn more.
  • Qualifying patients should be scheduled for an evaluation and fitted with shoes annually. Despite the benefits, most practices refit less than 25% of patients from one year to the next when all it takes is an outreach effort to patients from each year. Your SafeStep homepage displays the practice “Repeat Rate”. There are tools available, including patient lists, which can be used to facilitate a recall program, to ensure that every patient is evaluated annually to be refit with replacement shoes. To better understand the true value to your practice, read “The $40,000, 4 Hour per Week Diabetic Shoe Program”. The article describes how little time is actually needed, if the program is organized effectively, to yield significant benefits to patients and to the practice.
  • Successful practices set goals at the beginning of each year and monitor their performance on an ongoing basis. To recap, key metrics for ensuring program success include:
    1. The number of annual CDFE’s performed on patients with Medicare. Compare to the number of patients with Medicare and diabetes in the practice. Every patient should have at least one annual evaluation.
    2. The number of shoe fit, covered by Medicare. Conservatively, 75% of patients with Medicare and diabetes will have a qualifying risk factor and should be fit with shoes.
    3. Shoe fit rate. Should be 85% or better. Track on SafeStep Members Home Page. If lower than it should be, assistance is available to help improve.
    4. Refit Rate: Should be 75% by end of year.

Successful practices create incentive programs to reward staff members responsible for each of these key metrics.

  • Further assistance is available by scheduling a One-on-One Training Session with a SafeStep DME Specialist. Topics include:
  • “The WorryFree DME Shoe Ordering Process”
  • Diagnosis Specific DME Treatment Protocols for AFOs
  • AFO and Shoe Compliance Documentation
  • 18 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Shoe Fitting
  • Fall Risk Management Made Easy with Moore Balance
  • The CDFE Strategy

I hope you find this article helpful. I truly enjoy writing these articles and working with practices to help them become more successful. Our friendly SafeStep customer service team is available to assist you with your account and all programs, products, services.

Keys for Success: Fall Risk Prevention … It’s a Best Practice!

The SafeStep Keys for Success that you’ll see here are based on real examples from podiatrists and can dramatically improve your practice.

October Key for Success: Set Up a Fall Risk Prevention Program

On an annual basis, it is important to ask every patient 65 years of age and older, if they have fallen in past year. This is a baseline for a fall-risk assessment and is a precautionary measure to help more patients.

If patients have not fallen or have fallen once without injury, consider them to be NOT at high risk for falls.

If patients have fallen once and been injured or two or more times without injury, consider them to BE at high risk for falls and use SafeStep’s “Functional Fall Risk Assessment Tool” to determine the basis for increased risk.

If fall risk assessment determines the increased risk to be orthopedic in origin, perform a “Biomechanical Evaluation” to determine the specific etiology and guide a plan of care. Such a plan might include:

  • Offering assistive devices including canes and walkers for those at risk.
  • Providing patients guidance about footwear options that will enhance stability.
  • Consideration of foot orthoses that can decrease foot pain and improve support.
  • Providing physical/occupational therapy options.
  • When appropriate, casting for bilateral Moore Balance Braces.
  • Its appropriate to bill an EM charge when fall risk is determined and a plan of care provided.

In order to learn more about how to get started:

1.     Read articles in library section of SafeStep website.

2.     Register at for the training webinar: “Fall Risk Management with Moore Balance”.

3.     Call for SafeStep at 866.712.STEP for patient information brochures, order forms, free mailing labels and STS casting kit.

4.     Review the semi-weightbearing casting technique. Video located in AZ AFO section of SafeStep website, Library section.

5.     The SafeStep website features all Medicare required compliance documentation.

2016 Patient Brochure Helps Ensure That Patients With Diabetes Get Evaluated For Annual Shoe Fitting

More than 75% of patients with diabetes that are fit with shoes covered by Medicare are only fit one year and not the next. Despite the American Diabetes Association recommending that patients be evaluated annually to determine their level of ulcerative risk, and the annual coverage that offers podiatrists very reasonable reimbursement, patients are still not receiving the attention they deserve. SafeStep has created a brochure for podiatrists to give to patients with Medicare and diabetes when scheduling an annual Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam.  The brochure explains to patients the importance of the annual exam as well as qualifications for shoes under the Therapeutic Shoe Program.


New Billing Codes for Plantar Fascia Night Splints, Pneumatic and Non-pneumatic Walking Casts

Medicare now differentiates between off-the-shelf and custom fitted type prefabricated AFOs including pneumatic and non-pneumatic walkers and plantar fascia night splints.

Traditionally used codes reflect the custom fitted version and the allowable amounts for both are currently the same.  For devices traditionally billed using L4360, L4386 and L4396, new codes reflecting the off-the-shelf definition most likely apply.

Click below to read entire article:


Increased Medicare DME Reimbursement for 2015

Good news!! On January 1, 2015, the Medicare fee schedule for diabetic shoes, Moore Balance Brace and Arizona custom AFOs increased. While the amount reimbursed by each DME MAC may vary slightly, the National Fee Schedule allowables are as follows:

Depth Shoes (A5500) $141.14
Prefabricated, Heat Molded Inserts (A5512) $57.58
Custom Molded Inserts (A5513) $85.92

Depth Shoes w/ 3 pr. Prefab, Heat Molded Inserts $313.88
Depth Shoes w/ 3 pr. Custom Molded Inserts $398.90
Custom Molded Shoes w/ Custom Molded Inserts $586.42

Arizona AFO, Standard (L1940, L2330, L2820) $1162.23
Moore Balance Brace (L1940, L2330, L2820) $1162.23

For a complete listing of updated DME prices, including prefabricated and custom ankle foot orthoses, go to:

Extra-depth Shoes May Help Alleviate Foot Pain for Older People

For adults over age 65 with disabling foot pain, being fitted for off-the-shelf extra-depth footwear reduced pain and improved function, according to a new study.

This type of footwear is often marketed to people with diabetic foot ailments, for whom Medicare – the U.S. government health insurance program for people over 65 – will cover most of the cost of the shoes.

Click here to read the full article!

Fall Risk Management & The Moore Balance Brace 4-Part Webinar Series!

Several of your patients with an appointment today are at risk for falls and one-third of them will fall without your professional intervention.

Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of your patients can benefit from a Fall Risk Management Protocol that includes the Moore Balance Brace (MBB).  By offering such a protocol to your at-risk patients, you’ll be preserving their quality of life and you may even save lives.  In the process, your practice will experience significant growth.  In other words, doing well by doing good.

Beginning October 14th, Josh White, DPM, C.Ped, will be hosting a series of free, live, interactive webinars that will provide a step-by-step guide to incorporating Fall Risk Managment into your practice.

The series will cover the following topics: (Click date to register)

Don’t miss out on this special series – see you at the webinar!