Keep ‘Eyes Wide Open’ in O&P

Content provided by The O&P EDGE
Current Issue - Free Subscription - Free eNewsletter - Advertise

The O&P community, like most business disciplines, has a constant eye on its future. Anticipating and preparing for what is ahead is a matter of success and a matter of survival. We all have to keep our eyes open. Sometimes keeping our eyes open is about seeing what is really there rather than what we want to—or have been told to—see.

At the recent 2006 American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) National Assembly in Hollywood, Florida, one of the best-attended and most compelling sessions was titled, "A View to the Future: O&P Business Leaders Discuss the Changing Industry and What Future Practitioners and Business Owners Should Expect."

The session featured a panel discussion moderated by AOPA President Walter L. Racette, CPO, and included Ossur Americas President Eythor Bender, Benchmark Medical Inc. District Manager Brian L. Gustin, Otto Bock Vice President of Research and Development Bill Clover, Hanger Orthopedic Group President and COO Thomas F. Kirk, and John Michael, CPO, FAAOP, FISPO, of CPO Services Inc. The all-star panel discussed current industry trends and dynamics that are transforming the world of O&P. The powerful statements generated in this session are too numerous to mention (a future column maybe), but one of the most interesting aspects of the discussion was about the competitive environment, both within and beyond the profession.

A statement on competition from Tom Kirk has especially stayed in my head since the AOPA show. He said the other players in the industry can be "your partner at breakfast, your competitor at lunch, and your enemy at dinner." These are very insightful words from an executive at the company that is the subject of this month's cover story.

In this issue Miki Fairley studies the O&P giant with an in-depth look at Hanger Orthopedic Group and its overall strategy, as well as that of its three subsidiaries: Linkia, its controversial MCO; SPS, considered the largest distributor of O&P products in the US; and Innovative Neurotronics (IN), a developer of new technology, through exclusive interviews with Hanger Orthopedic Group's top leaders, including Ron May, president of SPS, Ivan Sabel, CPO, CEO of Hanger Orthopedic Group, and others. This feature discusses the position of Hanger and its affiliates in the industry and how the business model of these companies is affecting the changing O&P and healthcare landscape. In addition, there are three exclusively online articles that provide expanded coverage of this topic.

You have certainly heard the buzz around the O&P water coolers, in facilities, and fabrication centers across the country, and at the state and national trade meetings. You have certainly seen all the postings on the OANDP-L listserv. Hanger is a regular topic of conversation and discussion throughout the O&P community, yet it also has been somewhat of "an elephant in the living room." Everyone talks about Hanger, but who is truly informed? What are Hanger's intentions and strategies and how do they impact our industry? Here The O&P EDGE brings you a closer examination through fair and balanced reporting, and as FOX News says, "you decide."

Whether you feel good, bad, or neutral about Hanger and its affiliates, maybe the best course is to be as informed as possible first—and then form an opinion. There has been a lot of sizzling buzz about Hanger and its business activities on the O&P Listserv, plenty of it fueled by emotion. Here we intend to present you with a look at the facts.

Read. Study. Then decide for yourself.

Responses to this feature are encouraged and can be sent to and will be posted on our website. Also sign up for our free e-mail newsletter to keep informed of new developments.

Bookmark and Share