Texas: Pedorthists push for licensure
AUSTIN, Texas - A group of pedorthists met with the Texas Board of Orthotics and Prosthetics in August to press for licensure.
"We feel the license will bring more professional recognition," said Antonio Davila, president of RN Plus Medical Supplies in San Antonio.
Currently, pedorthists in Texas must be certified but are "exempt" from licensure. Licensure would simply formalize what pedorthists currently do, which is to supply footwear, including therapeutic shoes, shoe modifications and foot orthoses to address lower limb problems.
Other states already license pedorthists. Requirements vary by state, said John Shero, vice president of Wichita, Kan.-based Regal Medical, a provider of orthotics and diabetic footwear. He is licensed in Oklahoma.
"In Oklahoma, we are licensed through the medical board," he said. "It means you went to the medical board for the license, you have to maintain your license by sending in CEUs, and you have to renew the license every year."
Getting licensed will also give pedorthists a seat at the table when it comes to policy-making for pedorthics, said Davila.
"We aren't allowed to participate in the decision-making process for things regarding shoes," he said. "We are left out of the loop because we are not licensed."
With about 200 pedorthists in Texas, compared to about 2 million diagnosed diabetics, Davila would like to see a system created that would also allow pedorthists to work with certified shoe fitters--who can only fit non-custom shoes--to ensure patients are wearing the correct shoes. Down the road, any provider of therapeutic shoes in Texas will probably need to have, at minimum, a pedorthist overseeing its shoe program, said Davila.
"Most amputations begin with a foot ulcer," said Davila.