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AOPA Testifies in Opposition to Texas Legislative Proposal Harmful to O&P Providers and Patients

AOPA staff member Lauren Anderson, MPH, testified on March 12 in Austin, Texas, against SB 505, which would allow practitioners exempted from Texas licensing requirements to extend their exemption to anyone under their supervision. Currently, the state provides exemptions to its rigorous licensing requirements for certain health providers and this bill seeks to expand those exemptions.

This bill has broad language that could allow abuse and potentially untrained persons to perform complex orthotic fittings. Opponents, including practitioners and Ms. Anderson, testified to the potential harm to patients if the bill were passed, citing the complex nature of care for some orthotic patients, past incidents of improper fittings, and the broad implications for this bill if passed with its current stipulations.

The Senate took the opposition’s concern over the bill into consideration, and reached out to ask for help with new language to narrow the exemption. The language proposed would only allow physicians to extend their exemption; only allow exemptions to persons employed in the physician’s office; and allowing only off-the-shelf orthotics. The bill is currently pending in committee, to be revised, and we are optimistic that the bill will remove the broad exemptions and be narrowed down to reflect the input provided by the Texas Association of Orthotics & Prosthetics, the Texas Chapter of AAOP, AOPA and other concerned parties.