Saturday, May 25, 2024

Unlicensed Activities

Morris Gallo

As most of you know, Florida has had a license law since 1997.

There are over 400 licensees, consisting of Prosthetists, Orthotists,

Orthotic Fitters, Orthotic Fitter Assistants, and Pedorthists. The

Fitter and Fitter Assistant are generically lumped in with the

Orthotist under the general category of “orthotist”.

When the law was enacted many “practitioners” in the state took the

view they didn’t need to pursue licensure as for some reason or other

the law would go away or would not apply to them Some probably knew

they were not qualified or would not be licensed for other reasons.

This background is to set the stage for the following article many

of you may see in your local newspaper. An Associated Press article

under the headline “State cracks down on health practices without

license” was published in the September 3rd Ft. Myers News Press. It

details various horror stories of patients being injured and put at risk

by unlicensed providers. They then list the various professions and the

number of individuals charged with unlicensed practice. I was amazed

first of all to see the category of “orthotists” listed and truly

astonished to see there were 30 complaints on record. This is over TEN

percent of the licensed practitioners. To put this in perspective,

there are over 7,000 dentists in Florida but only 129 complaints for

unlicensed activity, that’s less then ONE percent.

Our profession is so small in the scheme of health care that it is

usually not even listed, but because of a lack of regulation and

accountability has gained national recognition for the amount of fraud

being perpetrated against Medicare and Medicaid. This fraud is not

caused by the dedicated professionals who have self-imposed rigid

Certification and when licensure went into effect promptly complied with

the regulations. Rather, what are being reported in the news and the

fraud cases are individuals who see P&O’s lack of regulation as an easy

target for plunder.

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