Coming Together and Reflecting on a Profession

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By Andrea Spridgen
Andrea Spridgen

As The O&P EDGE staff began preparing this issue, the profession was anxiously consuming analysis of the testimony given during the August 26 Open Comment Meeting regarding Medicare's Draft Local Coverage Determination (LCD) for Lower Limb Prostheses and the protest rally immediately following it. While, as I write this column, it is still too early to tell what action the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will take, there is no question about the degree to which the O&P profession came together with the common cause to preserve appropriate care for the patients who depend upon their services. Even more poignant, the efforts to mobilize against the LCD demonstrated the partnership that exists between O&P patients and their healthcare providers, as patients worked alongside their prosthetists to make their voices heard. Peter Thomas, JD, provides an overview of the troublesome issues presented by the Draft LCD, as well as perspective on possible actions going forward in "Prosthetic Limb LCD: How a Genuine Threat Can Motivate an Entire Field." We will continue to bring you news about this important issue as it becomes available through our Hot Off the Press updates.

At the same time the profession was banding together for a common purpose, our news editor and writer Laura Fonda Hochnadel was analyzing the results of The O&P EDGE's biennial Salary Survey. The first of these surveys was undertaken in 2011, and the popular feature continues to provide a snapshot not only of salaries within the O&P profession but also of the types of facilities in which people choose to work, what types of benefits are most important to them, and the changing demographics within O&P. Each time we have conducted this survey, respondents were also asked to share the most rewarding aspects of their jobs. While space doesn't permit us to list all the responses, many of them echo the dedication to quality patient care that was reflected in the mobilization against the Draft LCD, as evidenced by these comments: "Helping a diverse population of patients with their O&P needs in a positive and supportive environment, [and] discovering and implementing more positively impactful and time-efficient O&P methods of care." "Collaboration with other medical professions, [and] providing the most appropriate and properly fitting braces to achieve best outcomes." And, "The ability to see the patient through the entire healing process."

Though I've only been able to touch on a few of the articles in this issue, which focuses on the business side of the O&P profession, I hope you'll find some inspiration in each of them. Happy reading.