I have to differ with everyone commenting so far on the “Ossur ” issue. You
have shown a serious lack of memory, common sense, or both.
Ossur is only doing what is a natural extension of what other groups have
been doing for years. Examples for the “memory challenged”: Endolite- You
could not purchase components unless you took the $2500 class. Otto Bock
and OWW have introduced new techniques in the same manner. Years ago the VA
required that the prosthetist become “qualified” before attending clinics.
When the ISNY technique became popular, a class was required, as well as
the various CAT-CAM variants.
How many prosthetists outside of the Novacare/Hanger system are “Sabolich”
qualified? The Amputee Coalition (a neutral entity,of course) was good
enough to publish a list of those people and distribute it nationwide.
Remember how we all had to scramble to find classes to be able to do this
type of socket for the VA? Or did you make the Internet list for being TEC
Interface Qualified? -Utah Arm Qualified? C-leg Qualified? Keep going,
How many of you “common sense” impaired are members of an HMO Preferred
Provider organization? Are you on a list for clients to choose from? Did
you get a membership in POINT for free, or pay the $7000. we were asked to
contribute in order to receive a few referrals a year? How many NON-Hanger
facilities are providers for the CHOICE Point of Service Plan? Do you see
your name in a book listing Participating Providers anywhere? If you do
Medicare work, CMS sends your name out every year. What do you “pay” in
discounts and other costs for the privilege of being on that list? These
agreements, for which you pay dearly, all are designed to direct patients
to those who buy into the program. They are designed to EXCLUDE those who
won’t meet the terms. ( see Contracts,101)
OWW, DonJoy, FlexFoot and many more manufacturers have marketed their
products directly to consumers this way for years. I’ve never liked the
practice and I’m sure the new laws will change this practice.
It bothers me when folks in our field continue to think small and make
enemies of those who would help us who have elected to not join the big
guys network. Ossur has made a conscious corporate decision to support the
smaller O and P offices who might not be able to compete with the Cartel.
They have decided to take a different path than most of our major suppliers
who give in to Hanger pressure and give them a larger discount than we are
given. Ossur has taken a risk on our behalf to pass up lots of sales and
alienate Hanger prosthetists. Doesn’t that say something positive about
Ossur as a corporate friend?
I know that clear thinking has not been always evident on this list serve,
but this one is easy.
Greg Gruman C.P.
Winkley Orthotics & Prosthetics
740 Douglas Drive North
Golden Valley MN USA
I replied to John directly, but he requested that I post this directly to
the list for everyone’s consideration.
This issue puts a question before each practitioner and facility. Do we
the products of a company that will direct mail our patients and try to
steer them away from us as a result of our choice to use their products?
I have been a loyal user of the Ossur liners since introduction to the US
market and really fell in love with the ICEX cast system. While I do not
use the ICEX kits anymore, I still use the liners and foot systems on a
Now I am going to question my purchases with Ossur. As a business
how can I support a company with purchases that will actively direct
patients away unless I pay them a ransom beyond the component costs.
As far as compliance with HIPAA, while I am sure they have a legal opinion
on the matter, I do not believe OPT-OUT is in compliance because the
patients have never been given notice they have a right to OPT-OUT. Nor
Ossur provided a Notice of Privacy Practices to ‘their’ patients but they
consider themselves a Health Care Provider. They called themselves a
Care Provider in a letter dated April 18, 2003 addressed to their customers
when they declined to sign a business associate agreement.
AOPA’s advice from the February 19, 2003 AOPA in Advance…those that are
AOPA member were able to see this info…those that were not could only see
the advertisement about the info….was “If an O&P facility sends the PHI
the manufacturer or lab for the purposes of treatment, the facility is not
required to have a Business Associate Contract. However if a facility
shares its patients’ PHI for any other purpose such as providing a name and
address for warranty, it would then need a Business Associate Contract to
safeguard that PHI.”
My answer to this is to ask that the patient use the facility address when
completing warranty cards and even to offer to complete and send in the
cards as a service to the patient, even providing the stamp. I want to
sure the direct contact information does not make it to a company that is
actively seeking to move my patients elsewhere.
Brett R. Saunders, CPO, FAAOP
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