©2024 by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics, Inc. All rights reserved.

No part of this document may be produced in any form without written permission of the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics, Inc.

ABC State Licensure Handbook

January 2015


Getting Started

  • Coalition and consensus building are the key components to achieving state licensure. The first step in this process is to bring your state’s O&P professionals and other stakeholders into the conversation and pursuit of state licensure. Be sure that everyone understands the motives behind seeking licensure. Talk with those groups who will be affected by O&P licensure. States who have already been through the licensure process can be a good resource.
  • Decide whether or not to hire a lobbyist to assist in your efforts. There are two schools of thought here:

–      Lobbyists are essential to gaining access and steering you through the political landscape of your                state legislature. A lobbyist will guide you safely through the process and then become your eyes and          ears after the bill is passed and regulations are in place, or

–      Lobbyists are a waste of money and will simply tell you what you already know, i.e., that an effective            grassroots campaign is the only way to go and profession volunteer leaders will be the driving force            behind the effort anyway.

You need to make an informed decision on this issue based on your specific needs and abilities.

  • Next you will want to research your state’s regulatory structures to determine what entity might be given supervision over the profession’s regulation. If the regulation ends up in the wrong department, being regulated by people who have no insight into the O&P profession, the ultimate result could be negative. In many states, there is a Department of Professional Regulation and this may appear to be the appropriate place for O&P licensure at first glance. Be sure, however, that you talk to other groups that are currently regulated by that agency before you settle on any particular department. Find out what agencies other health care providers are regulated by and talk to them.
  • Find the right legislator to sponsor the bill.

–      Most legislation goes through the committee system. Try to pick the chairman or ranking member of           the committee with jurisdiction over the department or agency that you have chosen to regulate the             profession.

–      Convince the legislator by stressing the consumer aspects of the issue. Since qualified O&P                           providers have specialized education and training, the consumer has every right to expect a                           competent and honest practitioner who has been scrutinized by his/her government.

–      Explain that unqualified providers who are not educated or trained in the provision of care are                         providing custom O&P devices and that licensure is an appropriate step toward control of                               the problem.

Use other state O&P licensing laws and regulations in addition to the ABC model licensure act for guidance. They will provide material for code and regulation drafts. You can find an interactive Licensure Map on ABC’s website that shows all states that currently have some form of licensure.