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The American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists has crafted a position statement in favor of state licensure. Licensure establishes minimum educational and training standards for O&P clinicians who practice within state boundaries.
In addition to the position statement, the Academy website features a licensure toolkit. The toolkit offers direction and guidance to those hoping to build support for licensure bills in their own states. So far, 15 states have adopted O&P licensure and others have regulations that establish minimum qualification standards for O&P clinicians.* A handful of other states have plans to pursue licensure. The licensure toolkit links to these states' O&P licensure statutes, which can be helpful to those choosing appropriate language for their own proposed legislation. The licensure toolkit also includes a model licensure bill on page 12 of the toolkit, developed by ABC, to offer other options for drafting bill language.
One question that frequently comes up during licensure discussions is why licensure laws differ so greatly from state to state. Teri Kuffel, JD, vice president of Arise Orthotics & Prosthetics, Inc. and a director of the Minnesota Society of Orthotists, Prosthetists, and Pedorthists, explains:
Next month's edition of Licensure Corner will address why licensure is pursued state by state, what can be done to push for these requirements on a national level, and what additional steps we must take to achieve licensure.
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*Some states with low population and few practitioners have enacted laws that regulate who can legally provide O&P services in lieu of full licensure. Enactment of full licensure legislation in these states was viewed as overly burdensome and difficult to support financially, given the small numbers affected. This alternative approach to licensure will be explored further in a future edition of‚The Academy ADVANTAGE.