It seems that Florida Board Member, Morris Gallo, forgot that about three
years ago I asked a question at an open Board meeting about Orthopedic
Technologists being exempt from the law. The Forida O&P Board at that time
agreed with me on my conclusion. I am sure that transcripts or tapes of the
Clearwater Board meeting can be found. The attorney from Wash, DC
representing the BOC also agreed with me. He was the first of many atty’s
that have agreed with me on OrthoTechs being exempted.
I first asked the Board if orthopedic fracture casting in fiberglass or
plaster was considered an “orthosis” under the definition used in the new
statutes. They agreed it was. Then I further asked “if this was true then
should not the orthopedic technologists who apply casts in nursing homes or
hospitals or clinics without a physician present or within their own
practice under Rx from the doctor have to be licensed by this Board also or
does the exemption page refer to them”. You could have heard a pin drop.
I think the board knew the loop hole that was in the law was now out in the
Later, at the Captiva FLA O&P Society meeting, I asked the Lobbyist for the
Florida O&P Society if she ever thought of adding Orthotechs to the proposed
law. She said they thought it would have “muddied the waters” to bring it
up. So they kept the term away from the state legislators. The Orthotechs
have a national organization and they would have put their two cents in but
were in the dark about the proposed law.
Orthopedic Technologists are exempt because they are trained (mostly on the
job) in fracture bracing and orthopedic appliance fitting and it is within
the scope of their practice as defined by every state and federal (military
as well as VA) government and national and international orthopedic
technologist organizations. Every day, in the State of Florida, Orthopedic
Technologists are doing custom fracture bracing and billing for it. They
have been hired by O & P shops because they are exempt and need not be
supervised as per the statutes. Below is the actual paragraph from the
exemption page. The key words are “this act does not regulate the practice
of” & “or prevent a qualified member of any other profession” & “from
doing work of a nature consistent with that person’s training”.
What makes a qualified member of any other profession? Do they have a
recognized title? Do they have a national organization? Do they give a
national exam? Yes to all three of these questions for Orthopedic
What makes this different from other professionals doing bracing within the
scope of their practice is that orthotechs are not licensed. I think Ortho
techs should not have a free ride. They should also be licensed and be
required to pay fees and obtain CEU’s. Why not just change the language in
the O&P law to add Orthopedic Technologists. Sounds simple to me. I wanted
this three years ago as I said in the Clearwater Board meeting.
If I were an Orthotic Fitter in Florida, I would change professions to
Orthopedic Technologist and join their organization and go to their national
symposium (which was in Miami this past August with all the major custom
brace vendors there). I wouldn’t even have to quit my job. Just make up a
new card. Then I could even do fracture bracing which I can’t as an
Orthotic Fitter under the Statutes.
HERE IT IS RIGHT FROM THE O&P STATUTE WEB SITE
2) This act does not require an additional license of, or regulate the
practice of, any other licensed health care professional within the state,
or prevent a qualified member of any other profession or any person employed
under the supervision of such a licensed professional from doing work of a
nature consistent with that person’s training, as long as the person does
not hold himself or herself out to the public as a licensee under this act.
Charles Barocas, CO, LO, LXT(RT retired), OT