Kevin L. Hines, CPO
Kevin L. Hines, CPO, clinical manager and partner at Arise Orthotics and Prosthetics, Blaine, Minnesota, volunteered to provide prosthetic care in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, which he says was a "life-changing trip. It was great to provide O&P devices without...the barriers that we all deal with on a day-to-day basis." Hines has been able to find a silver lining to one of those potential barriers, however. He says that more stringent payer requirements have improved his treatment documentation and prompted him and Arise to gather gait analysis data to support that documentation.
1. How has your career progressed?
I started out as a staff practitioner and soon found that I was very good at getting new business. I became an office manager and managed multiple offices for several companies where the challenge was always to increase their market shares. Later, I opened an O&P clinic for a hospital system that grew from one administrator to several more practitioners and administrators over my 13 years there. I am now a partner at Arise with Charles "Charlie" Kuffel, MSM, CPO, FAAOP, and Teri Kuffel, Esq. I have been published in a national peer-reviewed publication, have presented at national O&P conferences, and have been the president of the Minnesota Society of Orthotists, Prosthetists & Pedorthists for five years. We have been pursuing licensure for O&P and insurance fairness for individuals with amputations for several years.
2. Please describe what your work entails.
I carry a full patient load and wear many hats. Charlie and I teach physical therapy students and staff at various medical facilities. We find that this helps people understand what we are trying to accomplish. My clinical time is spent primarily on the road. I see patients in their homes or at therapy to minimize some of the time off for family members, to lessen transportation concerns, and to provide a team approach to care. I do several follow-up visits to confirm positive outcomes. My goal is to provide the best outcome for the patient with the simplest solution and the least amount of bracing.
3. What are your professional goals?
I want to be involved in and affect the outcome of changes facing the O&P profession. Too many people are standing on the sidelines watching or not paying attention. We can either proactively pursue change or reactively try to make changes after something has impacted us in a negative way.
4. What do you see in the future for O&P?
These are challenging times. Companies need to be able to react rapidly to changes from payers and implement the changes immediately. I think the future is going to be fine for O&P, but we need to figure out how to speak with one voice.
5. What advice would you give someone just entering the O&P profession?
My philosophy is that if you put patient care first and work closely with your administrative staff, the business and finances will take care of themselves. We show all of our residents what it takes to open their own businesses. Most don't want to do it after they see how much paperwork and how many hours it takes. I advise residents to be somewhat selective about who they choose to be their residency directors. Lastly, when it comes to signing noncompete agreements, be careful, get some advice, and if possible, avoid signing them. Your job is a relationship of expectations between you and your employer, and that is a two-way street.