During the current Congressional session, AOPA, through the hard work of its legislative consultant Catriona Macdonald of Linchpin Associates, worked with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) toward developing funding support for both: (1) new appropriated moneys for outcomes research in O&P (via S. 521) and (2) new appropriated moneys to support educational advances for new O&P Masters programs as well as increased funding for existing O&P programs included in S.1852 – The VA appropriations bill.
We are pleased to inform AOPA members that all of the efforts by AOPA, our lobbyist Ms. Macdonald, and the hundreds of letters, calls and visits by AOPA members and others supporting these bills have born some important fruit. The House and the Senate have adopted the essence of S. 521 when they accepted the proposal by Senator Durbin, and included in the defense portion of the budget bill a provision instructing DoD to invest $10 million dollars in the coming fiscal year, to support new outcomes research initiatives on O&P research topics which has been signed in to law by President Obama.
In the meantime, Ms. Macdonald is in conversations with Congressional offices, DoD officials and others to suggest some of the key areas where these funds would be particularly useful, and to assure that DoD officials implement these funds in a manner that is consistent with the intent of S. 521 and Senator Durbin’s statements introducing and describing this provision. We also continue to work, and will keep everyone informed regarding the other half of the target for this effort, namely, educational funding in support of the Masters in O&P entry level education programs.
Questions regarding this issue may be directed to Lauren Anderson at landerson@AOPAnet.org.
American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association
330 John Carlyle Street, Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314