MED links complex rehab, O&P

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

RAPID CITY, S.D. - Complex rehab provider Tim Pederson has stepped away from his company to help other providers like him expand into orthotics and prosthetics.

Pederson was named director of The MED Group's new National Orthotics & Prosthetics Network in April.

"The MED Group has quite a few members that are doing both right now, and we have a lot more members interested in it," Pederson said. "But they need to be shown the right way."

Pederson knows a little something about how to do complex rehab and O&P right: He was CEO of WestMed Rehab, a company based here that provides both product categories. 

As part of his new gig, Pederson plans to work with complex rehab providers individually to map out plans for adding O&P to their product mixes.

"It's very much going to be one-on-one, depending on where they are in the process," Pederson said. "We have members who are well into O&P; we have members who are somewhat in the business--they have an orthotist on staff and they do custom orthotics; and we have members who see the synergy between complex rehab and O&P, and they're itching to get started."

As such, Pederson's guidance could include everything from helping a complex rehab provider refine its existing O&P practice to working with a provider to create a template for a production lab. One thing it will always include: lessons learned.

"I've made some mistakes along the way," Pederson said. One of those mistakes: Hiring veteran O&P practitioners.

"I'd advise providers to hire a younger practitioner that's fresh out of school with some experience but not a whole lot," he said. "Because that's someone you can manage."

John Letizia is a MED member who knows firsthand the benefits of marrying complex rehab and O&P. In the three years that Letizia has provided O&P, it has gone from about 5% of his business to about 30%. Complex rehab is about 50% of his business.

"When we got a 9.5% cut, O&P didn't get it because they're a separate category," he said. "So it has easily become a growing part of our business."