Report to the Membership, September 2011


OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
PETER D. ROSENSTEIN

September 2011

Dear Members of the Academy,

Many of us still remember our school days and associate Labor Day with the official end to summer and the ramp-up for fall. But in reality, neither your work, nor the work of the Academy, stops for the summer. In fact, this summer was quite a busy one for the Academy.

It began in June with a very successful Board of Directors’ Strategic Planning meeting. Mark Muller, MS, CPO, FAAOP, President of the Academy, took the Board through a thorough examination of the ongoing work of the Academy, looking to the past in order to plan for the future. The Board found that although we are on the right track, there are always new and innovative ways to do things and we want to continue to solicit feedback from you, our members, on a regular basis.

The Education Development Council (EDC) has created exciting plans for both One-Day Seminar Certificate Programs, to be held on October 28 and 29 at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare. The programs are The Effect of AFOs on Balance (October 28) and Prosthetic Management of Multiple Limb Deficiency (October 29).I hope you’ll consider attending both of these informative programs.

The Annual Meeting Clinical Content Committee is working hard to prepare for the 38th Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium, which will be held in Atlanta from March 21-24, 2012. The preview for the Annual Meeting will arrive in your mailbox within the next few weeks. We hope you will mark your calendars now to attend. To find out more about the meeting, visit our 2012 Academy Annual Meeting website (www.academyannualmeeting.org).

There have been a couple of staff and responsibility changes in the national office. We have welcomed our new Communications and Program Assistant, Rachel Balick, who, among other projects, is working with our Fellow Committee to enhance the information we provide to potential Fellow candidates and to begin to make that program more widely-known. Chellie Blondes, our Deputy Executive Director, has taken over the operation of the Paul E. Leimkuehler Online Learning Center (OLC) and is working with the EDC and our Scientific Societies to acquire additional education modules. She’s also reworking the OLC webpage to make it more inviting and easier to navigate.

In an effort to benefit those practitioners who work with Spanish-speaking populations, the Academy created three “Spanish for O&P” online courses. These courses, specifically geared to orthotist and prosthetist needs, can be accessed via the OLC. We continue to see an upswing in the number of individuals using the OLC, including many O&P education programs that direct their students to the OLC as part of their curricula.

Frank Bostock, MBA, CO, FAAOP, a former Academy President, is once again spearheading the Annual Academy Golf Invitational. The proceeds from the event, our sixth, will be donated to the Orthotic and Prosthetic Education and Research Foundation (OPERF). Frank has done a yeoman’s job planning and running the past five Invitationals and this one promises to be the best yet. To learn more or sign up, visit www.oandp.org/golf. The Academy urges all of our members to consider donating to OPERF, and I want to thank all of you who made generous donations along with your membership renewal. To make a donation or learn the latest on OPERF’s activities, visit www.operf.org.

As you are all aware, today healthcare is on the lips of every politician across the nation at all levels of government. The Academy is a member of the O&P Alliance along with ABC, AOPA, and NAAOP. Through the Alliance, we work to create a climate in which you, our members, can best serve your patients and provide them with the care they need. Recently the Academy, along with our Alliance partners, has worked hard to educate CMS on O&P and how competitive bidding would negatively affect the field. We are pleased to report our success and, for the foreseeable future, O&P will continue to be exempt from competitive bidding. While we continue to be vigilant in this area, we feel confident we have made our point to CMS that the small amount they would save from competitively bidding off-the-shelf orthoses wouldn’t be worth the harm it could potentially cause to the patients we serve.

In the coming weeks, the Academy will introduce a new feature on its website that will allow you to personally communicate with your legislators and enable you to tell your own stories. There is nothing more important than educating people at all levels of government about what we as O&P professionals do and the long-term positive impact we have on those who come to us for care.

The Board of the Academy continues to work on your behalf—as do the three Councils (Professional Issues, Research, and Education Development), through which the work of the Academy is accomplished. I want to remind you again that we encourage you to communicate with us at any time your ideas on how we can improve service to you, our members. It is always great to hear from members if we do something right, but it is just as important to know if there are problems that we can resolve. We look forward to continuing to serve your needs.

Sincerely,

Peter D. Rosenstein
Executive Director
American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists