For O&P Patients

“NAAOP’s primary purpose is to promote public policy that is in the interest of you, the O&P patient. NAAOP does this by advocating for professional O&P patient care.”

 – Nikki Grace-Strader, 2022 NAAOP Breece Fellow

Promotion of the Highest Standards of O&P Patient Care

NAAOP exists because patients do not always receive the O&P care they deserve due to a variety of factors including various government policies. Since 1987, NAAOP has shaped positive results in healthcare legislation and regulation through strong government relations advocacy and education of policymakers. Through this presence, NAAOP advocates for the millions of people with amputations, limb differences, and orthopedic impairments, as well as the providers who serve their O&P needs.

As an O&P patient, NAAOP would like you to know that our members support a uniquely patient-centered mission. Our members are O&P professionals who care enough about their patient’s well being to commit beyond their efforts in daily patient care and become actively engaged in promoting public policy that is in the interest of their patients.

These professional members are dedicated to the highest standards of O&P patient care. NAAOP practitioner members are certified by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC) and/or the Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC). They also may be state-licensed practitioners. A prosthetist or orthotist who is certified by ABC or BOC will have the following designations: Certified Orthotist (CO or BOCO) or Certified Prosthetist (CP or BOCP). Practitioner members are professionals who have made a substantial commitment to the profession of orthotics and prosthetics, as reflected by the completion of the rigorous education requirements of state licensure and the ABC or BOC certification process. Reliance on state licensure or ABC accreditation protects O&P patients. It ensures that only practitioners with sufficient education, experience, and appropriate patient care facilities provide complex O&P patient care. In addition to our members’ professional commitment, they also commit to meeting the needs of the O&P patient community by their active involvement in healthcare policy formation and their financial commitment to support NAAOP’s mission. Our members are dedicated to optimal patient wellness.

Friends of NAAOP

You can join in NAAOP’s efforts to serve and advocate for professional O&P patient care. You can become involved and make a difference in a number of ways.

First, it is very important that you receive care from a professional qualified to make a proper patient evaluation and provide complex O&P patient care with appropriate follow up.

Second, it is important that you communicate your needs to your O&P provider. This is critical in building a communications network that fosters healthcare solutions that are both proactive and responsive.

Finally, we recommend that patients receive professional O&P care from a provider who is willing to present your unmet needs to policy makers and become a partner in an advocacy process that champions causes such as access to care and advancing technologies. NAAOP’s mission is to be the collective voice of our constituents by achieving high quality patient standards through support and empowerment of the clinician-patient partnership.

Some O&P patients wish to support NAAOP’s mission by becoming Friends of NAAOP. These individuals make a financial commitment of their choice to further the goals of greater access to O&P care and better technology for the O&P patient community.

Patients are Key to Educating Policymakers

NAAOP was founded by the dedication, energy, and passion of a small group of orthotic and prosthetic practitioners who wanted to put the patient’s needs first. Many of our founders knew orthotics and prosthetics from a personal perspective either as patients themselves or through family members who used orthotics and prosthetics. Peter W. Thomas has been a voice for O&P in Washington since 1987, both as NAAOP’s General Counsel and as a bilateral amputee since age ten. NAAOP is effective because of the longstanding commitment of professionals, many of whom are also patients, who have worked tirelessly to increase O&P awareness and educate policymakers about the needs of the O&P patient community.

Standards of O&P care have continued to rise because of the support of all members of the O&P community. However, those who care for O&P patients continue to face obstacles in providing new processes and advanced technology in their efforts to achieve optimum patient outcomes. Our job is not over and you can make a critical difference through self-advocacy.

For more information on NAAOP’s advocacy on behalf of the O&P patient, please view our story on video. You may also review the history of NAAOP’s results on behalf of professional O&P patient care by viewing NAAOP’s government relations updates and archives. Updates and alerts demonstrate the government relations advocacy process in the context of actual events. They also demonstrate NAAOP’s vigilance for professional O&P patient care.


The O&P community is relatively small community in healthcare. However it must compete for representation in the larger healthcare arena. You can make a difference in your own care.

ABC or BOC certified and state licensed O&P professionals strive to provide the highest standard of care based on medical necessity, prescribed function, and origin of impairment. Your access to the highest standards of care is often determined by public policy. Also, in the case of substandard care, it is extremely important that you, the O&P patient, have appropriate recourse.

Tell Policymakers Your Story

You can strengthen the O&P advocacy voice. Congress plays a major role in the development, financing, and oversight of public and private sector health policies. Constituents are in a unique position to influence policy, which includes funding allocations for various programs that can affect you, the O&P patient. Communication is the key. You can put a human face on your issue of concern, especially those issues involving your access to appropriate care and the adverse consequences suffered due to denied access or substandard care. Of equal importance is patients relating how they have benefited from orthotic intervention and how their quality of life improved with a prosthesis that was fabricated and fitted by a Certified Prosthetist. It is important to demonstrate how the depth and quality of care can improve quality of life and prevent costly medical complications. You can accomplish this by contacting your representatives and telling them your story. This website includes links to Congress as well as many other important resources to keep you informed and facilitate your involvement in self-advocacy.

Other Resources for the O&P Patient

To achieve our goals, NAAOP continually endeavors to strengthen its collaborative ties with other consumer and professional associations serving the disability community. NAAOP invites you to review our list of partners. We hope that you will find them to be a valuable resource in your pursuit for optimal wellness.

National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP)