Change Is Afoot

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A few weeks ago, the world watched the United States make history by electing its first black president. "Change has come to America," President-Elect Barack Obama said on November 4 before an estimated crowd of 240,000 people in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois.

That same phrase applies to the O&P profession, and there is little doubt that O&P gets its change in pretty regular doses. L-Codes are added, deleted, and modified from year to year. Reimbursement rates change. Legislation changes. Technological advancements change the way manufacturers and practitioners do their work. And this just barely scratches the surface.

Soon, the O&P education requirement will change. National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE)-accredited O&P education programs are in a state of transition as the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in cooperation with NCOPE move toward the NCOPE-mandated entry-level master's degree in prosthetics and orthotics by 2010, or 2012 for existing accredited programs.

Miki Fairley discusses some of the more immediate implications of this transition in her article, "O&P Education: Reaching Master's Level and Beyond ." Other, farther reaching implications remain largely unknown. How will the new requirement impact certification and licensure? How will it impact legislative and lobbying efforts on behalf of O&P? What about the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)?

But perhaps an even more important question is how will the profession respond to the change? Whether you herald the change or oppose it, the profession's response to the heightened education requirement has the potential to be far more impactful than the change itself. How will you respond?

The O&P EDGE needs your input. We would like to know what have been your greatest challenges in building your business. What have been your greatest successes? Has your business been affected by the current economic situation? If so, how? What measures have you taken to minimize or negate the potential negative impact? Let us know, and we may feature your story in a future issue of The O&P EDGE . Send your stories, questions, and feedback to