Way to go, Dr. Smith! I hope other M.D.s see your message and concur — I
feel that this issue just emphasizes the need for research to identify
specific criteria (cold-hearted data) to assist in identifying what IS the
“best” for the patient. I have had enough of the O&P profession, adopting a
likewise-distasteful product promotion assumed by the pharmaceutical
industry, taking their products directly to the clients. We need specific
criteria that will assist the prescribing physician/team in identifying
exactly what is most appropriate for their patients. Enough of this “trial
and error” — often costly, time-consuming, and prone to filling the pockets
of people like Ossur!
Carol A. Sheredos, PT, MA
Dear Mr. Wertz
I have been practicing rehabilitation medicine and have been prescribing
prosthetics for over 30 years. I was provided a copy of the recent article
in the O&P Business News by a prosthetist that participates in one of my
amputee clinics. The article was an overview of the new Ossur Associate
Facilities program and I felt it was appropriate to share my insights in
this open letter to fellow rehab professionals and associates.
Mr. Wertz, you were quoted numerous times in this article that you felt the
ultimate customer, the amputee, should have access to the best products and
you stated you have the best interest of the amputee in mind. After
reviewing the article and learning more about your program I want to
publicly state that I am personally and professionally offended that you
would attempt to promote such a transparent, shallow and profit driven
program in the name of patient care.
I was astounded at the criteria for a prosthetist to join the Ossur
Associated Facility program. I will now always doubt the credibility and
ethics of any prosthetist that recommends an Ossur Liner, Flex Foot or Total
Knee in any clinic. I will be putting all prosthetic facilities that attend
my clinics on notice, if they have joined the OAF, they had better not be
suggesting or pushing any Ossur products for any of my patients. How am I to
know if they are recommending the product because it is good for the patient
or is it because they need the sale to obtain their 10 net sales in each
product line. I defy any practitioner in the OAF to explain how they will
maintain professional integrity while recommending an Ossur product knowing
that they have to maintain minimum sales quotas with Ossur.
The Ossur Affiliate Facility program is an embarrassment to you personally,
your company and any prosthetist that was too shortsighted and money hungry
join the Ossur program. Mind you, the one positive aspect of the Ossur
program is that it has identified and exposed those prosthetists that have
decided to put profits and revenue ahead of quality patient care by joining
the Ossur program. How can any prosthetist, with a straight face and clear
conscience, pay a yearly fee and agree to minimum sales quotas with Ossur
while at the same time state they are interested in quality patient care. It
is very clear; Ossur Affiliated Facility practitioners have sold their sole
and their credibility to Ossur.
My nurse will be notifying all prosthetic providers this week that OAF
members will no longer be welcome to attend any of my amputee clinics. Thank
you for making the list so easily available on the web site so I can
identify which practitioners are in this business solely for the money. In
addition, any scripts that are sent to me for signature will now be closely
scrutinized and I will be demanding that all L-Code recommendations be
product specific, I now want to know exactly what products are being put on
my patients. My clinics focus on what is best for my patients, not what is
best for Ossur sales quotas and product lines.
A program like this would not survive the scrutiny of an ethics committee in
any medical association. I am dismayed and disappointed that the prosthetic
association would allow such a blatant profit driven process to exist. The
fact that you are publicly promoting this program, you have articles
published with the revenue goals, subscription fees and minimum purchasing
details combined with a list of prosthetists promoting their involvement on
your web site is astounding. The fact that you are willing and able to
promote this publicly in a trade magazine without any sanctions from the
industry puts the integrity of the entire prosthetic profession, accrediting
body and association into question. I will be bringing this program and the
names of all practitioners that have joined the Ossur Associated Facilities
program to the attention Medicare and the Medical Directors of major
insurance carriers my region.
Mr. Wertz, I demand you to immediately discontinue and dismantle this
program. The damage you have done to the good name Flex Foot had before it
became part of Ossur may be irreparable, and the black mark you have etched
on the prosthetic industry as a whole is most likely indelible. As long as
this program is in place, I cannot in good conscience prescribe any Ossur
product on the recommendation of any prosthetist, as I will now always
question the motivation and integrity of the practitioner.
According to your web site Ossur is a public company in Iceland and I could
not help but notice that the stock price has dropped significantly over the
6 months. Perhaps in Iceland you create revenue programs to prop up your
stock price and push sales while pretending it is all done in the name of
patient care. Be advised, that is not the way we treat people here in the
United States. In my clinics, the patient, quality care and my patients well
being come first, not Ossur profits.
William Smith, MD
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