John Kenney seeks to improve perception of O&P

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Monday, February 3, 2020

Every day in the orthotics and prosthetics field brings something new, with fresh challenges and different patients, but one challenge remains constant—raising the profile of the profession, says John Kenney, MURP, BOCO, and the 2019 recipient of the Jim Newberry Award for Extraordinary Service.

“I think it’s important when we look at what the specialty is and how we provide products, that advocating for these medical devices to be fit by specialized clinicians is important,” he said. “We help people in a meaningful way.”

Kenney, vice president of clinical development at Ongoing Care Solutions, spoke with HME News recently about receiving the “ultimate award,” and why the definition of an orthotic—a device to support, protect and improve function—mirrors the BOC’s work in advancing the profession.

HME News: You’ve been a BOC member for a long time. Why is such an organization important?

John Kenney: When people think “BOC,” they think of accreditation and certification. The BOC is so much more than that. Advocacy is extremely important, especially in the O&P field. It’s such a small specialized area that a lot of times payers like Medicare or private insurers don’t understand what an orthotist is.

HME: And when they don’t understand what an orthotist is, what kinds of problems can that create?

Kenney: One example: The competitive bidding program now includes some off-the-shelf knee braces. As someone that specializes in fitting these, it’s hard for me to fathom that we are going to let people that don’t have clinical training or specialization actually put those on beneficiaries.

HME: Have you seen progress being made in getting respect for O&P?

Kenney: Absolutely. For a long time, the notes were not considered part of the permanent record. They could not be used as justification for billing, but that’s changing. We are finally being considered part of the record. There’s been a lot of work in making that happen.