The Capacity of the Prosthetic Profession to Provide Lower Extremity Prosthetic Limbs within the State of Georgia
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Due to an aging population and a rise in conditions known to increase the risk of amputation, demand for prosthetic services is thought to be increasing nation wide. 20% of certified practitioners will reach retirement age within the next ten years. A recent National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE) study highlights the need to substantially increase the number of educational programs and the number of graduates becoming certified to meet the demand for services. The purpose of this study was to investigate the current capacity of the prosthetic profession in the state of Georgia to provide services. Palmetto GBA ,the Durable Medical Equipment Regional Carrier (DMERC) for Medicare Region C. was asked to identify the number of times the "Base" L-Codes for lower limb prostheses were submitted for billing in the years 2000 and 2004. Total sales was then estimated by extrapolating the Medicare information assuming Medicare sales represent 58% of total sales. The number of Georgia based American Board for Certification (ABC) and Board for Orthotist / Prosthetist Certification (BOC) certified prosthetists was solicited from their respective certifying agencies. The data collected represents the only estimate of lower limb prostheses fabricated in GA in 2000 and 2004. The data also represents the only estimate of prostheses fabricated per practitioner, and the only study to capture services rendered beyond Medicare beneficiaries.