O&P Predictions for 2008

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By Karen Henry

Having just wrapped up an incredible year of advances and innovations in prosthetic technology, I thought it would be interesting to kick off 2008 with some predictions on what the new year might bring the O&P profession. I called on the members of The O&P EDGE editorial advisory board for their expertise, and a number of them indulged me for a moment of forethought. Here's what they had to say:

  • "I predict that practitioners, specifically orthotists, will become aware of the fact that an L-Code exists for stance control orthoses. Many still feel that they cannot bill for this new technology and thus do not provide the option for their patients. Ironically, the L-Code has been in place since 2005." -Gary Bedard, CO, FAAOP, Becker Orthopedic
  • "Many facilities will start to recognize that they have neglected to increase their prices along with inflation/cost of living because of the three-year payment freeze. Now they will begin to see more and more contractual restriction on the percentage increases and how often they are permitted to increase their retail fees to payers. I also believe their will be a resurgence of emphasis on marketing and improving referral source relationships...." -Susi Ebersbach, Independent Consultant
  • "My 2008 prediction is that two new schools will offer a master's degree program in prosthetics and orthotics. Currently there are two schools (Georgia Institute of Technology and Eastern Michigan University). In essence, this would double the number of schools that will offer a master's degree in P&O." -Christopher Hovorka, MS, CPO, FAAOP, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • "I hardly know what is going to happen today, let alone a year from now." -S©amus Kennedy, BEng (Mech), CPed, Hersco Orthotic Labs
  • "Presidential election year means many promises that will make the healthcare system more accessible, with enhanced quality at lower cost....  Expect more people to be covered by some private or public plan, but the reimbursement to providers and suppliers will be less.... "I would expect to see more competitive bidding on both the provider and supplier side. Quality measurement standards will be introduced and credentialing criteria will leave many suppliers out of Medicare. Consolidation in the hospital industry will continue and it will result in more medical groups being acquired by hospitals. In short, there will be more work to be done for less money for both providers and suppliers." -John Latsko, Attorney, Schottenstein, Zox & Dunn
  • "The integrity and effectiveness of the L-Coding system will continue to deteriorate, and the lack of any effective appeals process for coding decisions will continue to be a major concern." -John W. Michael, Med, CPO, FISPO, FAAOP, CPO Services
  • "Increased awareness and discussion of the issues involved in evidenced-based practice and its implementation in O&P." -Edward S. Neumann, PhD, PE, CP, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

There is little doubt that 2008 will be an exciting year for the O&P profession.

I wish you all a prosperous, safe, and happy new year.

Karen Henry
Editor, The O&P EDGE