As the health care profession becomes more and more competitive, and
health care professionals strive to better their patients’ lives, each
discipline works to improve the qualifications of its members. Traditionally,
the orthotic and prosthetic profession has lagged behind other areas of the
health care arena; but O&P organizations have begun implementing structural
changes designed to make orthotists, prosthetists, pedorthists and technicians
more qualified, and to properly recognize them for their expertise.
The state of Alabama recently passed legislation to ensure the same
level of proficiency in its post-mastectomy fitter population.
The new law requires all post-mastectomy fitters in the state to be
licensed by Dec. 31. According to the legislation, a licensed mastectomy fitter
is one who is specifically educated and trained in the provisions of breast
prostheses and post-mastectomy services, including patient assessment,
formation and implementation of a treatment plan, as well as appropriate follow
up and practice management. These changes are consistent with nationally
recognized programs accredited by the National Commission for Certifying
Among the requirements for licensure, applicants must possess a high
school diploma, GED or college degree, and must have successfully completed an
NCOPE-approved mastectomy fitter educational course, like those provided by
Airway, American Breast Care, Amoena, Jodee, Nearly Me and Trulife. In
addition, applicants must obtain 500 hours of mastectomy fitter experience,
which may be completed either before or after the fitter educational course.
Throughout the course of each calendar year, all licensed mastectomy fitters
also must complete 4 hours of continuing education credits.
The author of this bill, Glenn Crumpton, LPO, CPed, with Alabama
Artificial Limb & Orthopedic Service in Montgomery, Ala. and presiding
officer of the Alabama State Board of Prosthetists and Orthotists, was
instrumental in passing this legislation. He told O&P Business
News that certified post-mastectomy providers still will be able to
provide their services and products.
“We realize the tremendous need for this service as a prosthetic
and orthotic board because in many examples, the O&P companies in certain
areas are the only providers,” he said. “Furthermore, many local
O&P providers have been performing this service for decades and are
sympathetic to these special and intimate needs just as we are, through our
experience with those who have suffered other injuries or significant
|© 2010 iStockphoto.com/Daniel
The licensure changes were a natural follow up to the Prosthetic and
Orthotic Practice Act, Crumpton said, which passed in 2002, and preceded
pedorthic licensure in 2006.
“For decades, post-mastectomy products have been provided by local
O&P providers and to date there was no regulatory body for this personal
service,” he said. “In addition to the O&P providers, many cancer
clinics and boutiques — most of which are certified — have been
working to provide quality care.”
The Board worked with post-mastectomy providers throughout the state, as
well as with a number of national manufacturers, to establish the final rules.
Many providers also aided the process by offering comments and suggestions
during a designated comment period.
Changes will be minimal for already certified mastectomy fitters. The
main addition will be a mandatory statewide registry of those providers, where
patients and other consumers of post-mastectomy products and services will be
able to file and follow-up on complaints. Prior to the 2002 legislation —
and these new requirements — there was no avenue for patients to pursue
recourse for these complaints.
Costs for this process include a $175 application fee and a $125 license
fee, as well as an annual renewal fee of $125 due with an application form by
Jan. 1 of each year. — by Stephanie Z. Pavlou
For more information:
Being licensed is important to the well-being of Alabama’s
citizens. There is always a transition to full license that must be worked
through and this is the toughest part of rulemaking after a law is passed. The
O&P Board of License is working hard to be fair and if all people who may
fall under this law and its regulations work with the Board, within the next
year we will have a good law with regulations that are fair and the citizens
will be protected.
— Fred Crawford
Manager, Alabama Prosthetic
and Orthotic Association