The following represents ABC's response to the recent ABC/BOC negotiations:
After several months of negotiations regarding the unification of the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics (ABC) and the Board for Orthotist/Prosthetist Certification (BOC), ABC has discontinued talks with BOC.
This disappointing announcement follows formal negotiations, including a meeting on January 12, 2004, as well as a series of subsequent communications. The following issues, among others, had been agreed to at the January 12, 2004 meeting:
* ABC and BOC certified orthotist/prosthetist practitioners will be given equal and equivalent certification status in the unified organization.
* BOC accredited facilities will be given ABC accreditation for the appropriate scope of practice.
* Two pathways for certification as orthotists and/or prosthetists will be available to future practitioners, ensuring that future patient care needs will be met. ABC’s primary education pathway will be retained and an alternative pathway to ABC’s primary certification pathway for orthotist and/or prosthetist certification, similar to BOC’s current primary pathway for orthotist and/or prosthetist certification, will be developed and implemented.
* The current ABC examination process will be adopted for certification of orthotists and/or prosthetists.
* The current BOC examination process will be adopted for orthotic and mastectomy fitter credentialing.
Through written communications, BOC reversed its position and would not agree to the above consensus agreements, as well as other items to which the parties previously agreed. Ultimately this led to ABC concluding that BOC did not intend to unify in a progressive and productive fashion. Thus, contrary to BOC’s recent press release, ABC terminated the negotiations. In its press release, BOC has since misstated numerous facts about the negotiations between ABC and BOC regarding the unification process. We will respond to those allegations with the facts. Yet, ABC continues to move forward with unification of the profession – the ultimate goal of the profession.
ABC still believes that it is in the public’s and profession’s best interests to have a unified credentialing body that maintains high standards, is inclusive of all qualified professionals, and is respected by the medical profession. ABC believes in the urgency of this matter, as unqualified and untrained individuals continue to encroach on O&P patient care.
In order to accomplish this lofty goal, ABC has extended offers to all BOC certified practitioners in good standing to join ABC as ABC certified practitioners and unite the profession. This will provide the public with assurances that services and care are provided by an ABC credentialed professional whose certification represents the highest standard of competency. Frank Friddle, President of ABC, emphasized this point by stating that: “adding qualified BOC practitioners, ABC continues to focus its efforts on providing high quality and comprehensive patient care throughout the United States.”
For more information on this offer or for an application form, please visit ABC’s website at www.abcop.org.
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