Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Morris Gallo

Final third


There are about 1000 Orthopedic Technologists in Florida. Some


have figured out they are better off hiring an Orthotech than an


fitter or even another high salaried Orthotist. The Orthotech does

not have

to be “supervised” according to the O&P rules and are not limited as

orthotic fitters are.

Wrong again. Support personnel, as defined by F.S. 468.808 are allowed

to provide services only under the direct

supervision of a licensee as defined by this act and the rules of the

Board. The “Orthotech” has no additional privilege over

any other regular unlicensed employee.


This is the same situation as Physical Therapists have with Physical

Therapist Assistants and Licensed Massage Therapists. The PT practice


would hire a PTA or LMT who did the same job as a PT (except for PT

evaluations) for about half the pay as a PT. Hospitals and private


PT’s fired PT’s and hired cheaper PTA’s. How long before Hangar


out OT’s and trained ATC’s can replace Orthotists for about 90% of the

patients who walk through their door.

I have limited knowledge of the laws and rules governing PT or LMT, but

I doubt they are much different then O&P’s as

most Boards are governed by the rules of the Department of Health.


Yes, there still will be a CO but his staff will be OT’s and ATC’s in

Florida. Remember, Florida has several BS college programs for ATC’s


even training for Orthotechs, but no Orthotic Program yet. ( how many


will even stay in the state?) Companies like Depuy (DJ Ortho) are


ATC’s and Orthotechs and placing them in their large Stock & Bill


at orthopedic offices. I know a large O&P shop in Tampa that hired an

orthotech 5 years ago to do fittings. It was the “smart move”.

Who licensees hire is up to them, but they put their license in jeopardy

if they are allowing unlicensed personnel to perform

services regulated by the P&O law. Additionally, five years ago you

could have your janitor provide services if that was your

level of commitment to the patient. As of July 1997 that changed.


There are about 300-400 people in the Florida who are licensed under

the O&P

Law. There are about 200,000 who are specifically exempted by the



There are over 400 licensees in Florida, the number exempted is of no

relevance as the great majority do not provide O&P

services even though they are exempt. The major difference licensure

has made is that patients now have a venue through

which they may file complaints. Unsatisfactory services provided by

licensees are addressed by the Board, those provided

by exempt persons are addressed by their respective Boards, and those

provided by unlicensed persons are prosecuted by

the Department of Health and the State Attorney General’s office.


I once asked a Florida O&P Board member why so many exemptions?

He replied, “Because it was the only way to get it passed. The other

medical professions have their lobbyists too”.

Charles Barocas, C.O


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