Two students from ENHP's Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics (MSPO) program were invited to attend the 2014 American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) Policy Forum in Washington, D.C.
Amy Lawrence ‘14 and Maria Cieslewski-Suhl ‘15 attended a two-day session with the opportunity to learn about the latest legislative and regulatory developments, and their impact on business and the treatment of patients. This level of professional awareness prepares our students for success as field leaders as well as providers of feedback to policy-makers in order to effectively contribute to the ongoing conversation on how to best manage the complex enterprise of health care delivery.
The forum covered a variety of hot topics in prosthetics and orthotics including patient billing, external audits, research, education, Medicare and Medicaid, emergent legislation, federal policy on insurance fairness, and the Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights. The University student delegates met with experienced clinicians, staff members, and current students from around the country, as well as representatives from the offices of U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy (both Democrats representing Connecticut).
The involvement of University students in this forum is an extension of the MSPO program's continued outreach to legislators and interaction with industry policy makers, and follows a site visit by Senator Blumenthal to campus in February.
Reflections from Amy Lawrence: "The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) 2014 Policy Conference was an educational and invaluable experience to have as a student preparing to graduate and enter the field as a resident. All of the attendees were so welcoming and excited to have student representation at the event. It was very encouraging to see active practitioners lobbying for a common cause. We had the opportunity to visit the offices of both Connecticut Senators and one Congressman to discuss with their staff members current legislation pertaining to Prosthetics and Orthotics insurance reimbursement, state licensure, and patients rights. Ultimately, the goal is improvement of patient access to prosthetic and orthotic services and ongoing exceptional patient care within the profession. I was truly honored to be chosen to represent the Master in Prosthetics and Orthotics program and the University of Hartford at the forum. I returned from the policy forum with a greater breadth of knowledge and appreciation for the 'real world' issues concerning our field and how important it is that we, students as well as practitioners, stay involved in bettering the future of our profession."
Reflections from Maria Cieslewski-Suhl: "I was honored and excited to have been invited to attend the AOPA 2014 policy forum. It was an incredible experience to gain an in-depth understanding first hand of what is happening in our field beyond what we're learning at the University of Hartford. The information that was presented to us brought attention to important legislation that has a vast impact on the Orthotics and Prosthetics field at large. We were able to meet with our senators and representatives to voice the concerns of our field as a whole. It is extremely important that the future clinicians of O&P (meaning students!) get involved alongside experienced O&P professionals in learning how to advocate for all aspects of our field. I am grateful to have been a part of that effort this week."