Kristin J. Carnahan, CPO, FAAOP
Procare Prosthetics, Inc.
What does being a Fellow mean to you?
Being a Fellow of the Academy is an indication of commitment to learning as well as to the advancement of our profession. We cannot continue to grow and push the envelope of care and technology until we know more clearly where we are in our endeavors.
How did you decide to get into O&P?
I wanted to help people while also working with technology and solving problems. O&P has been the perfect fit!
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of the office?
I like to stay active. When the weather is nice, I enjoy playing tennis and cycling. I’m also involved in a local church and am an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction.
What advice would you offer to those about to or hoping to enter the profession?
Absorb as much as you can from various practitioners. One of the challenges we face is finding the “right” answer when there are multiple good answers to a particular problem. Learn to be flexible, ask why, and understand various perspectives. Asking questions helps all of us to grow in our approach, but learn to ask with an open mind. Never forget in the problem-solving process that you are treating a patient and family, not just a diagnosis. We have a great privilege to walk through some really tough challenges with our patients, and if we do so with respect and compassion, the rewards are great.
What do you believe is the most serious issue facing O&P?
Insurance coverage, reimbursement, and documentation are significant challenges for us as we move forward. There is a tension we face because we desire to focus our attention on our patients alone and how to best meet their needs. At the same time, we are required to document and advocate for the particular needs of each patient to an increasingly great degree. Navigating the constraints of various insurance plans and reimbursement schedules can be discouraging when coverage and patient needs do not coincide. We also have to continue the efforts of the Academy to educate the rest of the healthcare team as well as legislators about what we do and the value of our professional role.