Dennis Hagan, CPed said he is not disappointed that the Kentucky General Assembly failed to pass an orthotist, prosthetist and pedorthist licensing bill for the second straight year.
“In every state it has taken 3 to 5 years — we are not discouraged,” said Hagan, a pedorthist and president of the Kentucky Pedorthic Footwear Association (KPFA). He founded the KPFA in 2006.
Hagan said the KPFA ended up opposing the licensure bill mainly because “it was burdened with regulations that would restrict the number of qualified practitioners and limit patient access. There is already a real patient access issue in Kentucky.
“There are only about 26 pedorthists in the state. All credentialed pedorthists need to be recognized for licensure.”
Hagan said as far as he knows every Kentucky pedorthist is ABC-certified or has ABC and BOC credentials. Apparently, none are BOC-only, he added.
“But there will be BOC pedorthists,” Hagan said. “Medicare recognizes the BOC and ABC credentials. So we are going to continue to educate legislators about how valuable all pedorthists are, regardless of whether they are BOC or ABC.”
Hagan said most KPFA members are dual credentialed. The organization includes more than half of the Kentucky’s pedorthists, according to Hagan, owner of Family Shoe Repair, a pedorthics facility in Bardstown, Ky. “In addition to educating our legislators, one of KPFA’s big goals is to bring more ABC- and BOC-approved continuing education opportunities to our state,” he said.
Hagan added that like the Washington D.C.-headquartered Pedorthic Footwear Association, the KPFA seeks to represent the pedorthics profession to the public, the medical community and government.
“We want to do on the state level what PFA does nationally,” he said. “This not only makes PFA’s job easier, it makes their efforts more effective.”
Hagan said PFA helped the KPFA get started.
“Brian Lagana [PFA executive director] came to Kentucky. He didn’t just say, ‘This is what I would do.’ He said, ‘This is what you need to do.’ He told us about bylaws and about how we needed a mission statement. He even brought forms from the Kentucky secretary of state’s office so we could get incorporated.
“Brian was great. This wouldn’t have happened nearly as quickly without Brian. He couldn’t have been more helpful.”
Hagan said Lagana returned to Kentucky with others to help the KPFA lobby lawmakers at the state capital, about licensing legislation. The helpers included Don Fedder, PhD, founder of the BOC, and BOC board member Rick Sevier, BOC pedorthist, CPed, RPOA; PFA board member Mike Veder, CPed, CO, BOCO and Steve Todd, CO. They like the Pennsylvania bill. It recognizes the BOC and ABC credentials.
“PFA president Randy Stevens, who has been instrumental in moving a licensure bill through the Pennsylvania General Assembly, has also been an invaluable asset answering e-mails and phone calls anytime with advice and direction,” Hagan said.
Hagan also cited Greg Safko, president of the BOC. “Who also has been a big help to the KPFA.”Meanwhile, the KPFA will continue to monitor licensure and do what they can to make sure it is in the best interest of patients and all Kentucky pedorthists.
Building the association
The other KPFA officers are vice president Larry Wheeler, CPed of Lexington, Ky. and secretary-treasurer Cindy Mattingly, CPed of Owensboro, Ky. Wheeler is co-owner of the Healthy Foot Center. Mattingly manages Shoe Stop Clinic.
“What better way to keep in touch with everybody than to take minutes at each KPFA meeting and communicate that information to our members?” Mattingly asked. “Our meetings involve good discussions of happenings in our pedorthic worlds. We experience heartfelt, genuine discussions about the future of pedorthics in our state.”
After Hagan decided Kentucky needed a state association, he started dispatching e-mails and placing phone calls to pedorthists statewide. The KPFA now meets quarterly at a restaurant in centrally-located Elizabethtown, Ky. They generally have 10 to 12 people attend. Tom Wilson, CO, CPed, from Fort Thomas, Ky. expects that the group will eventually scale back to semi-annual or annual general membership meetings with the officers meeting more regularly.
Mattingly was among the first attendees. She said she agreed to be secretary-treasurer and help lobby for licensure because “She believes in providing the best possible care for her patients.”
“To create and keep the trust and confidence that my patients have in me, I have to stand up for what is right for our profession in our legislature,” she said.
Mattingly added, “I must stay on top of continuing education. Education helps me provide the best patient care and expect the best patient outcomes. Through KPFA, we think we can get more continuing education in Kentucky.”
Wilson agreed the KPFA is a good vehicle for continuing education. The KPFA is concerned about other issues, too, such as how to include non-certified persons like fitters and technicians into the association. Wilson said that between meetings, pressing issues are covered in KPFA Footnotes, an electronic newsletter sent to KPFA members. The group also has an Internet blog at http://kpfa-news.blogspot.com:80/.
For more information:
- For information about starting a state pedorthics association, contact the PFA at (800) 673-8447.
Berry Craig is a correspondent for O&P Business News.