General, Orthotic Prosthetic Continuing Education, Orthotics and Prosthetics State Meetings, US ISPO

2020 US ISPO Pacific Rim Conference

The 2020 US ISPO Pacific Rim Conference was held January 19-22, 2020 at the Sheraton Maui Resort on the beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii.

As part of the proceedings, US ISPO was proud to host the Hawaii movie premiere of “1500 Miles” an award-winning documentary featuring Nicole Ver Kuilen of Forrest Stump.

Red carpet scenes from the Hawaiian premiere of “1500 Miles

Below is the article “Losing limb has even higher cost: Prosthetics and orthotics conference comes to Maui” by KEHAULANI CERIZO of The Maui News.

Nicole Ver Kuilen is shown in a shot from her documentary “1500 Miles,” which made its Hawaii debut Jan. 21 in Kaanapali. Ver Kuilen, who spoke that same day during a prosthetics and orthotics conference in Kaanapali, completed a two-month, 1,500-mile triathlon from Seattle to San Diego in a limb made for walking only. Her goal through her nonprofit, Forrest Stump, is to make prosthetic technology accessible for all amputees. Forrest Stump photos

KAANAPALI — Losing a limb is one thing, but being crippled by insurance systems is quite another, according to athlete, amputee and advocate Nicole Ver Kuilen.

Ver Kuilen, 28, who’s known for completing a 1,500-mile West Coast triathlon a few years ago in an insurance-mandated prosthesis built only for walking, spoke last week in Kaanapali about the lack of access to proper prosthetic devices for the majority of people who need them.

“We’ve reached this point now where amputees are no longer disabled by their condition, but we’re disabled by the policies that are put in place,” she said.

Insurance policies say that having access to something waterproof is a “convenience item,” running is not “medically necessary” and having an ankle that bends is considered “vanity.” Even technology that’s been around for more than 20 years is considered “experimental,” Ver Kuilen said during her talk, “How Do We Expand Access to Prosthetic Technology From the 1 Percent to the 99 Percent?”

Ver Kuilen, who last year won her first paratriathlete national title, was among dozens of speakers at the 2020 U.S. ISPO Pacific Rim Conference for prosthetists and orthotists, technicians, orthopedic surgeons and other medical professionals, held Jan. 19 through Wednesday at Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.

The award-winning short documentary on her ultratriathlon from Seattle to San Diego, “1500 Miles,” had its Hawaii premiere during the conference.

In Hawaii, lower-limb prostheses can range in price from about $9,000 to $65,000, depending on the amputation level and device design, according to Medicare estimates in a Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates of Hawaii report.

“Most private insurance will be reimbursed at a rate below that,” prosthetist and orthotist Cameron Lehrer, Oahu-based Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates of Hawaii owner, said Jan. 21 at the conference.

In fact, Hawaii is the only state where insurances do not cover microprocessor knees, which help mitigate falls for amputees, according to prosthetist Stan Patterson, another Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates of Hawaii owner.

Hawaii’s bulk of the lower-limb amputee population is those with diabetes, and the state’s incidence of diabetes is on the higher end compared with other states in the U.S., the group said. Also, Hawaii’s diabetes rates have been increasing over the last two decades.

In Hawaii hospitals, 710 amputations for various reasons were performed in 2014, according to the most recent data by the Amputee Coalition.

About 2 million people in the U.S. are currently living with limb loss and an estimated 185,000 amputations per year occur, the coalition said. This number is expected to double by 2050 due to rising diabetes and vascular disease rates.

The major causes of amputations are vascular disease (54 percent), including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease; trauma (45 percent); and cancer (less than 2 percent).

Eighteen years ago Jan. 21, Ver Kuilen, at age 10, had her leg amputated below the knee due to a rare bone cancer.

She has made it her life’s goal to expand access to prosthetic technology for all amputees and helped found Forrest Stump, a nonprofit advocacy organization with the same mission.

Ver Kuilen said during her talk that mass media has glamorized prosthetic technology, and Fortune 500 companies leverage by aligning brands with prosthetic success stories and devices. Some media reports go so far as to question whether people willingly amputate in order to gain a bionic limb.

“I mean, who here would trade any of your legs for any of the prosthetic technology you’ve seen during this conference?” she said. “There is no present technology out there today that can fully replace a human limb and it is alarming that our country is more concerned with the unfair advantage of a small amount of people than the unfair disadvantage the majority of us face on a daily basis.”

The average consumer does not realize how inaccessible and expensive prosthetic technology can be for the majority of amputees. With the exception of military individuals and Paralympic athletes, 99 percent of amputees living in the U.S. don’t get waterproof, running and other essential devices, Ver Kuilen said.

“This is not to say that the military and Paralympic athlete amputees are not deserving — they are deserving of access to prosthetic technology, but it’s the way in which our resources, our funding, our policies have been made that have perpetuated access for these select few and not granted access to the majority of amputees that are out there,” she said. “We need to focus on the real problem at hand, which is the unfair disadvantages that amputees are facing.”

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at kcerizo@mauinews.com.

General, Marketing with Mansfield

“Back in the Day” as a Marketing Tactic

Orthotics and Prosthetics, as a field, is MADE for pictures. So get your smartphones or your old-timey digital cameras and, after everyone you intend on photographing, has signed their release forms, start snapping (or clicking) away!

While you are taking new pictures have someone else head to the basement or the attic or your archives and have them dig up all the old pictures they can find. It does not matter how long you have been in business – you have “old” pictures. What to do with all the pictures??

Find your platform

First, figure out which platforms you want to use. Facebook, of course, because you know how to use it and it is so easy to put pictures into albums. Kids, pets and high tech are album categories you should absolutely be using. Everyone loves kids, pets and cool gadgets. If you do not believe me, go take a look at Facebook. What about staff? Patient-of-the-month? Birthday celebrations? Awareness days? Put your thinking cap on!

What about Instagram? It’s huge. If you’ve got pictures it is where you need to be. Thousands and thousands of pictures are being shared every second. Instagram photos can also be shared on Twitter and Facebook. You can kill a lot of marketing birds with the Instagram stone.

Throw it back

Second, get nostalgic. Everyone loved “Throwback Thursday.” They still do even though the actual term “Throwback Thursday” might not be as cool anymore. Here is where those old photos are useful. Who doesn’t like seeing guys in short shorts and knee high socks or girls with the sky high 80’s hair? Throwback is fun. I know O&P patient care facilities and vendors that are second, third or even fourth generation. If you are a first generation facility it doesn’t matter. Start a “this time last year” album. Uh, you were a baby once, right? You’ve got baby pictures. Use them. Remember everything doesn’t have to be work-related. Just throw back to the past. School pictures. Prom pictures. College. O&P school. Start throwing!

At CEC, we love using throwback pictures as part of our clinical course presentations. What a great way to really introduce yourself to your audience – and get them to know, like and trust you – when they see you are brave enough to share your baby pictures with them! (Cute baby, right?)

Before and after

Third, use before and after photos. Orthotics and Prosthetics is all about changing people’s lives and bodies. Before and after pictures are easy pictures to take and the results are obvious to see. Patient in a wheelchair  – patient with a running leg – patient running. You can also show a patient with severe plagiocephaly – patient with a plagiocephaly helmet – patient with a gorgeously shaped head.  Another option? Patient with Charcot ankle collapse, unbraced, and same patient with orthoses. I do not have to tell you what makes for a great before and after photo. YOU do it every day!

Share and share alike

Fourth, do not be stingy. You do not need to create new content for every single platform that you want to use. Use the pictures for both. More importantly, make sure your followers can share your content and that your customers can share their content with you. If you have got an Instagram-addicted mother who just loves taking pictures of her baby with the Spiderman cranial remolding helmet on, it would be a shame not to let her share her photos. Many hands do make light work so do not feel like you have to do it all by yourself. Friends, family, patients, coworkers can all help lighten that marketing load. The entire concept of social media marketing is that it is SOCIAL and it revolves around SHARING so do not make it harder than it has to be!

 

 

General, US ISPO

Hawaiian Premiere of “1500 Miles” at the US ISPO Pacific Rim Conference in Maui

2013-06-13-1FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: ELIZABETH MANSFIELD, BOARD CHAIR, US ISPO
ADMIN@USISPO.ORG, 833-487-4776 DIRECT

US ISPO to Bring Uplifting Ultratriathlon Documentary “1500 MILES” to MAUI

Join this special one-­time screening of a film that celebrates amputee athletic triumph.

LAHAINA, HAWAII, JANUARY 6, 2020 – US ISPO will be hosting the Hawaiian premiere of the award winning documentary “1500 MILES” at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa on January 21, 2020 at 1:30pm in the Maui Ballroom.

“1500 MILES” chronicles the accomplishments of 27-year-old amputee/ultratriathlete Nicole Ver Kuilen, in which she and a support team of three additional women completed a two-month, 1500-mile triathlon (called “Forrest Stump”) from Northern Washington to Southern California. The ultratriathlon event was undertaken to call attention to the discrimination against aspiring amputee athletes who are denied insurance coverage of appropriate prosthetic technology, allegedly to cut costs.

View the Trailer for the film at:  https://vimeo.com/236037173

  • Nicole Ver Kuilen is an amputee athlete who challenges herself to swim, bike, and run from Seattle to San Diego. She has the endurance and passion to make it to the end. The biggest question is: will her prosthesis survive the journey?

Immediately following the premiere, Nicole Ver Kuilen and Natalie Harold of Forrest Stump (http://www.forreststump.org/) will join an international panel of rehabilitation medicine experts to discuss the issue of access to care for the limb loss population.

The film is being screened in association with US ISPO (https://www.usispo.org/), the United States Member Nation Society of ISPO (https://www.ispoint.org/page/About). ISPO is a global multidisciplinary organization, of over 75 member nation societies, that promotes access to appropriate and equitable rehabilitation, mobility devices, and other assistive technology to improve the quality of life for people with reduced mobility.

Tickets can be obtained at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hawaiian-premiere-of-award-winning-documentary-1500-miles-tickets-88580842685?ref=estw

“I just want to run. I want to be free to move. I want to be an athlete. I want to be like everyone else.” said Nicole Ver Kuilen.  “I hope one day our society can become more compassionate and empathetic to understand the struggles people without privilege face, and use that knowledge to guide decision making. You don’t need to walk a mile in my shoes to understand; you need to open your heart to being more compassionate.”

Download images and video clips at:  http://www.forreststump.org/1500-milesFS

General, Orthotic Prosthetic Continuing Education

Partnering with Physical Therapists – Getting More Attention

The O&P Almanac’s December 2019 cover story is titled, Team Building, O&P Partners with PT in a More Collaborative Approach to Patient Care.

The article emphasizes the importance of a team approach to patient care in regards to limb loss. Christine Umbrell, contributing writer and editorial/production associate for O&P Almanac, speaks with four prosthetists and explores their relationships with the therapy community. Each practitioner explains how their collaborative efforts with physical therapists improve outcomes and the overall patient experience.

Betta Ferrendelli wrote an article for the The O&P Edge earlier this year, Partnering with Therapists: Improving Patient Access and Outcomes Through Collaboration. She wrote, ” When it comes to optimal patient care, the best recipe for patient success involves physical and occupational therapists and O&P providers working hand in hand.”

Clinical Education Concepts‘ Clinical Director Marc Werner, CPO, talked about providing continuing education to physical therapists in Deborah Conn’s July 2019 article in O&P Almanac’s Member Spotlight, The Human-and Animal-Connection.

“It makes sense that orthotists and prosthetists educate the therapy community about patients with limb and functional loss,” Werner said when asked about the article. Long Island O&P has provided over 1200 continuing education credits to over 900 therapists. 260 courses at 45 different therapy facilities since 2010! Collaborating with physical therapy is imperative to continually improving patient outcomes.”

Clinical Education Concepts provides course material to orthotists and prosthetists that can be presented to physical and occupational therapists. Contact CEC

General, Marketing with Mansfield

Marketing Golden Oldie – Create a Top Ten List (or Four, Five, Seven…)

Here’s a top 7 list for O&P marketers.

7. Create information that educates. People enjoy doing business with those they know, like and trust. Create a top ten list such as topten that you can distribute to patients and referral sources alike. Sharing information that educates, and doesn’t just try to sell, establishes trust and credibility.

6. Ask for feedback. Everyone loves to share opinions. What they don’t like is to fill out boring, cookie-cutter forms. Make the form (paper or online) fun and easy. Don’t ask stupid or leading questions. Get creative. Then “talk” about any changes you made based on the feedback. Changed your hours? Let everyone know that it’s a result of the feedback. Open on Saturday mornings now? Let everyone know! Offering a different line of prosthetic socks or types of skin cleaner – let everyone know.

5. Record a podcast. Who doesn’t have a smart phone or access to a computer? Recording a podcast of FAQs (“Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Wearing a Scoliosis Brace”) and submitting it to iTunes puts you in front of the millions and millions of iTunes podcast subscribers.

4. See #7 but change it to YouTube. My mom is having trouble with carpal tunnel syndrome. She just watched a bunch of Bob and Brad videos on YouTube. Bob and Brad are “the most famous PTs on the internet.” Bob and Brad get it. They know people watch YouTube to learn….and who better to teach people about O&P than YOU! (They’ve got over 1.5 million subscribers, just fyi.)

3. Hold a contest. The prospect of winning anything is alluring. Do you need a name for a new product or service? Ask your target markets to come up with a name for the product and then pick the winner. Are you launching a new Web site? Tell your target markets that you will donate a can of food to the local food bank for every unique hit your Web site gets in its first month. Not only will you engage your target market to participate, you’ll be doing something newsworthy.

2. Got jobs? High schools, colleges and vocational tech schools all have career fairs. Put together a visually stimulating display of orthoses and prostheses and participate in a career fair as an unique way to market your company.Some manufacturers or sales reps might be able to provide you with an interactive upper-limb prosthesis display that people can actually use. Having students connect with O&P technology at a local level creates buzz.

1. Create a speakers’ bureau…starring YOU. With all the advancements in technology and the current media fascination with anything related to O&P, knowledgeable speakers are in demand. Offering to speak at non-O&P (think physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehab-adjacent, Rotary, churches, etc., etc.,) meetings, events and conferences can give a big boost to your marketing efforts.