This issue of The O&P EDGE focuses on the business side of the profession, and like the technology used to enhance patients’ lives, it too is always evolving.
One trend facing the profession is the number of practitioners approaching retirement age. According to the opcareers.org site, in 2015, 24 percent of practitioners were 55 or older and likely to retire in the next ten years. Fast forward four years, and we are that much closer to their retirement, some of whom embraced the model of running a mom and pop shop or small family practice. “Transitioning Your Practice to a New Generation” provides tips and insight for practitioner/owners who are looking toward retirement and facing the decision of what will become of their practices.
Our final installment of “O&P Ten Years Later” tackles another aspect in which practitioners and practices are constantly evolving, as we review the educational and credentialing standards that have changed in the past decade. As the master’s degree has become the entry-level requirement for O&P practitioners, career emphasis has shifted from fabricating and fitting devices to focusing more narrowly on patient care and outcomes measurement. To accommodate the change in the profession, many O&P businesses have evolved their model to employ dedicated technicians or outsource fabrication.
Welcome or not, regulatory changes within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will always create circumstances to which O&P business practices must adapt. “DMEPOS Proposed Rule Expands O&P Prior Authorization, Underscores Need for Legislation to Separate O&P From DME” outlines the latest round of policy proposals that may pose significant challenges for the O&P profession and informs ways to engage in the process of making your voices heard.
Finally, if you are joining your friends and colleagues in San Diego for the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association National Assembly, I invite you to stop by and visit us at booth 846.