About NAAOP

Our story of advocacy, education, and unity has shaped a 29-year history of positive results in healthcare legislation and regulation. NAAOP invites all those participating in comprehensive O&P patient care to become informed, involved, and join in our mission to educate the public and promote public policy that is clearly in the interest of the O&P patient.

The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics is a non-profit trade association dedicated to educating the public and promoting public policy that is in the interest of the O&P patient. Since 1987, NAAOP has shaped positive results in healthcare legislation and regulation through strong government relations advocacy and education of policymakers. NAAOP serves the profession by representing and partnering with only those providers of orthotic and prosthetic services who truly believe that the patient must come first.

NAAOP members advocate for better evidence, better education of practitioners, greater and better technology for the O&P consumer, and greater access to care. Because of member commitment, O&P patients have had ongoing representation in Washington.

NAAOP’s voice represents all constituents in the comprehensive O&P patient care process.

Please join us in our efforts. Start now by exploring the role you can play in our mission.

Mission

To be a strong, unifying advocate, representing the interests of the O&P patient and practice communities specifically championing causes concerning patient access, funding, and outcomes through leadership in national and state policy formation. We will be the collective voice of our constituents by achieving high quality patient standards through support and empowerment of the clinician-patient partnership.

Our Story

The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics, NAAOP, exists because patients do not always receive the O&P care they deserve due to various government policies. Since 1987, NAAOP has shaped positive results in healthcare legislation and regulation through strong government relations advocacy and education of policymakers. NAAOP serves the profession by representing and partnering with only those providers of orthotic and prosthetic services who truly believe that the patient must come first. NAAOP’s message is consistent and straightforward because it is driven by the O&P patient’s well being. NAAOP is delivering the following messages to lawmakers and regulators:

Patient need must drive all policy.

Payment must be linked to patient need, individual professional competency, and facility accreditation.

Dedicated and committed leaders in the O&P profession – Prosthetists, Orthotists, and manufacturers like you – are the reason NAAOP is able to support a mission that is uniquely patient-centered and member driven. Our story on video illustrates NAAOP’s unique role and defines our purpose. View video. It is a history of dedicated professionals banding together to ensure that individuals who use orthotic and prosthetic services receive the professional care they deserve.

It is important to NAAOP that all those involved in O&P patient care are aware of the important role they can play in this mission. Your part in advocating for the millions of people with amputations, limb differences, and orthopedic impairments, as well as for your profession, has never been more important. NAAOP members are active practitioners and manufacturers just like you – and that is what has made the critical difference in achieving success to date. Please join us– your colleagues, in defense of our field.

Our History

NAAOP was founded by the dedication, energy, and passion of a small group of orthotic and prosthetic practitioners who wanted to do something about the lack of research dollars being put into O&P. These individuals along with NAAOP’s founding staff sought to advance the O&P patient’s well being and protect the O&P profession. Additionally, many of the founding members, staff, and directors knew orthotics and prosthetics from a personal perspective either as patients themselves or through family members who used the professional services of Prosthetist and/or Orthotists. NAAOP’s founding and current Executive Director, George W. Breece, grew up with two people who had amputation[s]. Peter W. Thomas, NAAOP’s General Counsel, had both legs amputated following an auto accident, and has walked with two prostheses since age ten.

NAAOP’s first successful initiative was to advocate for research dollars for O&P. This resulted in the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research at the National Institutes of Health. Peter Thomas was an original member of the National Advisory Council for the NCMRR of the NIH. O&P research is the principle focus of the center. Another milestone that put orthotics and prosthetics on a national forum was Peter Thomas’s role as Chairman of the Subcommittee of The Patient Bill of Rights.

Over NAAOP’s 29-year history, NAAOP’s government relation’s agenda has expanded to address national health care reform, Medicare and Medicaid reform, state policy formation, managed care standards, and Veterans Administration issues. As NAAOP’s efforts evolved to meet new challenges, strategies became more defensive than offensive, and collaborative ties with partners more critical. Because the O&P profession is a relatively small field in healthcare, survival is dependent upon the ability to compete for representation in the larger healthcare arena.

Our members have been critical to the success of the association to date. Because of their commitment, O&P patients have had ongoing representation in Washington. Many of NAAOP’s founding members have become leaders in the O&P profession and in the policy arena. Today, the O&P profession is benefiting from the efforts of key volunteer leaders who actively supported NAAOP’s mission for the last twenty years.

You may review the history of NAAOP’s results on behalf of the O&P profession by viewing the government relations updates and archives. NAAOP’s government relations updates demonstrate NAAOP’s vigilance for the profession and are also a valuable historical resource.

Healthcare Legislation and Regulation

NAAOP’s focus is the O&P patient. Our members advocate for better evidence, better education of practitioners, greater and better technology for the O&P consumer, and greater access to care. NAAOP defines these goals as critical for O&P comprehensive patient care and presents them as such to policy makers, which include federal and state elected officials. Health care policy development is complex and dynamic. NAAOP’s presence in this process is both legislative and regulatory. At each point in the health care policy development process, active involvement from the O&P profession is vital. Your professional perspective illustrates what works and what is in the best interest of the O&P patient. This website has been design to provide the resources for you to become informed, involved, and to contact us.

Education and Advocacy

NAAOP is a non-profit trade association dedicated to educating the public and promoting public policy that is in the interest of the O&P patient. The support and active involvement of members of the O&P community sustain NAAOP’s efforts in educating elected officials in regard to the un-met needs of the O&P patient community and of policies and proposals affecting clinicians serving this unique patient population. NAAOP’s efforts include:

  • Working to understand the unique circumstances, opportunities, and areas of concern affecting professional O&P care.
  • Building a communications network with our constituents by fostering dialogue with our members, partners, and our community, with the goal of presenting workable solutions based on evidence and experience.
  • Heightening awareness of orthotics and prosthetics through education and advocacy in Congress, the Administration, the federal agencies that administer Medicare and Medicaid, coalitions of national health organizations, and private insurance.
  • Developing and maintaining close working relationships with all health-related House and Senate committees, members of Congress, congressional staff, Administration and Health Care Finance Administration officials, and personnel from the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research at the National Institutes of Health.
  • Monitoring the activity in Washington, the occurrences and the policies that are promoted, the bills that are being introduced, and the rules that are being proposed that impact patients of O&P care and providers.
  • Analyzing and getting the message out to the O&P profession in a timely manner.
  • Developing strategies to combat or support various proposals and then presenting the positions of the O&P profession to public policy decision makers in Washington DC.
  • Working to implement proposals and promote points of view on Capitol Hill that are consistent with the objectives of protection and advancement of professional O&P patient care.
  • Supporting state legislative initiatives that are consistent with our mission of protecting O&P patient outcomes and quality by defending patient access to comprehensive O&P care.

NAAOP puts the O&P patient first by delivering trustworthy, efficient, and effective government relations advocacy. NAAOP invites all O&P professionals to make a difference for their patients and practices by becoming informed, involved, and supporting our mission.

Unity

NAAOP’s voice represents all constituents in the comprehensive O&P patient care process. We represent the individual clinicians, fitters, technicians, clinician owners, and select manufacturers and suppliers that are dedicated to advanced O&P technologies and outcomes.

The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics is an agent for the advancement of the O&P community through self-advocacy. NAAOP does this by supporting and empowering the clinician-patient partnership. To achieve our goals, NAAOP continually endeavors to strengthen its collaborative ties with other consumer and professional associations serving the disability community and also by continuing to develop our role as a facilitator and coordinator of grassroots advocacy efforts.

Unity in the comprehensive O&P patient care process, among partners, and as a grassroots community promotes public policy effectiveness.