Monday, April 22, 2024

Message from President of Ossur North America

Michelle Hamilton

June 18, 2003

Dear Listserv Participants and All Who May Be Interested:

I would like to take this opportunity to present information about the
Ossur Affiliated Facilities program, which was recently announced by Ossur
North America. Ossur Affiliated Facilities is the first U.S.-based
orthotic and prosthetic practitioner network created for independent O&P
practitioners. We firmly believe that this program will benefit the entire
industry and, most importantly, the amputees who rely on us. If this is
the first time you are hearing about Ossur Affiliates Facilities, please
feel free to visit our website at for more

This will be my only communication on the listserv, but I encourage you to
contact us directly should you have any remaining doubts or concerns after
reviewing this letter. Since many of you have not identified yourselves,
it has been impossible to get in touch with you directly to discuss any
misgivings you may have about the program. Therefore, I ask you to be
open-minded and review the facts.

First of all, I regret any confusion related to the announcement of Ossur
Affiliated Facilities, particularly to those of you who were not yet aware
of the program. Ossur is still in the process of working with all
facilities that might be interested in participating in the Ossur
Affiliated Facilities program. If you are in the United States and
interested in becoming a member and have not yet been contacted by Ossur,
please call us at 800-233-6263.

Secondly, Ossur is confident that the Ossur Affiliated Facilities program
is lawful. Ossur consulted with counsel and carefully considered all
issues, including regulatory questions in designing the program, and
structured the program in compliance with all applicable laws, such as
HIPAA, Medicare, and antitrust laws. The creation of networks such as
Ossur Affiliated Facilities is common in many industries to promote the
products of a company and those persons who are qualified to provide and
service those products, through professional quality marketing outreach and
the sharing of information. The overriding goal of Ossur Affiliated
Facilities is to provide the most appropriate and effective solution for
every individual amputee.

Now, let me turn to the use of Ossur Affiliated Facilities membership fees.
All organization funds will be used directly to advertise and promote the
Ossur Affiliated Facilities to referral audiences. Every dollar paid in
membership fees will be used to promote member practices, and they will be
supplemented with additional funds contributed by Ossur to promote the
organization and its members.

Ossur will use membership funds to represent Ossur Affiliated Facilities at
conventions of all referring audiences, deliver lectures, promote Ossur
Affiliated Facilities through print advertising and mailers, provide
brochures, maintain an on-line Geographic Locator, and provide facilities
with patient financing and reduced reimbursement assistance. Ossur
Affiliated Facilities’ membership funds also will be used to distribute
program information and a list of members to physical medicine and
rehabilitation physicians, physical therapists, orthopedic and vascular
surgeons throughout the United States, as well as to interested amputees.

Any independent O&P practitioners can join the Ossur Affiliates Facilities
network, provided they meet certain attainable criteria. These criteria
have included a modest total amount of facility net sales of Ossur products
($12,000 per year) and a requirement that 10 of those sales of Ossur
products ? not total clinic sales ? be from each of the knee, feet and
liner categories. The 10 criterion has been misunderstood. We have
therefore revised it to merely require $1,200 (i.e., 10 of the $12,000
minimum) of net Ossur sales in each of the knee, feet and liner product

To qualify for the program, practitioners must also have participated in an
Ossur Academy technical course within the previous 24 months. The
objective here is to ascertain that member facilities are committed to
building upon their clinical expertise.

These requirements enable the practitioner to demonstrate that he or she
has gained a familiarity with the entire range of Ossur products, not just
in one specific category. For example, a prosthetist who is not as
familiar as he could be with Ossur’s products might fit an inappropriate
Ossur product on an amputee because he didn’t take into account all of the
factors that should be considered in determining the right product for that
patient (such as weighing the patient or assessing their impact level). As
a result, the amputee in question could have an ongoing problem with that
product that cannot be corrected because it was unsuitable from the start.
Because many of Ossur’s products are technologically advanced, maintaining
this knowledge base on an ongoing basis will help practitioners select the
appropriate products based on individual patient needs.

There are numerous benefits to becoming an Ossur Affiliated Facilities
member. Through Ossur Affiliated Facilities, practitioners can achieve
economies of scale and collective marketing power for their dollars,
resulting in a consistent program that provides broader and deeper reach to
the referral market. There has never been a communications program in the
O&P industry as comprehensive as Ossur Affiliated Facilities. In addition,
O&P facilities that are part of the Ossur Affiliated Facilities network
gain access to special training and extensive information about advanced

The Ossur Affiliated Facilities network helps referring professionals
identify practitioners that provide a high level of service as well as
quality products from a wide range of manufacturers. But I believe that
there is no substitute for personalized service and high-quality care,
which play a significant role in an amputee’s selection of an O&P

We recognize that Ossur products are not always the right choice for a
patient. However, when they are the right choice for that individual, I
hope that most of you will agree that they ought to be prescribed. Again,
I would like to stress that Ossur Affiliated Facilities’ practitioners are
not limited to the use of Ossur products. All network members may offer
products from any manufacturer of their choice. Of course, Ossur is proud
of its products and the outstanding reputation they have earned amongst
practitioners and amputees, and we believe that Ossur products are ideal
for many amputees.

Should facilities choose not to participate in the network but continue to
purchase Ossur products, Ossur will of course continue to provide
meaningful support to those customers in their marketing and promotional
efforts. We appreciate the ongoing relationship with all of our customers,
and although we believe that the network will be of value to facilities
that carry Ossur products, we respect the decisions of those practitioners
who decide not to participate.

In addition, Ossur has always held fast to its core value of encouraging
the growth and excellence of the industry. For instance, when California
State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) was about to close its
baccalaureate program in Prosthetic and Orthotic Education in January 2003,
we stepped in to provide ? rent free ? a newly built school and laboratory
facilities on our headquarters’ premises. Some of you may not be aware
that Ossur purchased nearly all of the remaining copies of the final
printing of The Atlas of Limb Prosthetics ? often referred to as the “bible
of prosthetics,” and distributed them free of charge to every student
enrolled by fall 2002 in all twelve North American prosthetic training
institutions. The next edition will not be available until 2004. Ossur is
also one of the biggest supporters of the National Association for the
Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP).

Finally, some of you have expressed concern about Ossur’s direct
communications with amputees. Ossur takes patient privacy requirements
very seriously, and we have spent considerable time and effort ensuring
that the company’s mailing list is in full compliance with all HIPAA
privacy regulations regarding direct communication with patients.
Following both the letter and the overall intent of the law is of critical
importance to Ossur.

Ossur obtains the information for its amputee database through amputee
sign-ups at consumer trade shows and our Web site, as well as incoming
phone calls, and we give amputees the opportunity to opt-out of future
mailings. Of the amputees on Ossur’s mailing list, only a small percentage
(2.5) requested that they not be sent information.

Ossur Affiliated Facilities was created with the best interest of the
amputee in mind and with the desire that amputees should have access to the
best products for their needs. It is also a powerful opportunity that
gives participating members the ability to pool their marketing resources
and gain a level of exposure that would be too cost-prohibitive on an
individual basis.

We want to maintain a two-way communication with all interested parties,
and we will always welcome feedback on the Ossur Affiliated Facilities
program. We have already received numerous positive calls about the
program, and more than 640 facilities have already seen the value and
joined the network. We have heard from many prosthetists, technicians, and
amputees who are in support of the program, even though they may not be
posting their messages on the listserv.

If you have any questions or concerns about this program, please don’t
hesitate to call us directly at 800-233-6263.


Gary F. Wertz
Ossur North America


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