Thursday, May 19, 2022

fla o&p law

Charles Barocas,C.O.

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.


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


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