From the Editor: AOPA National Assembly

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By Miki Fairley

An organization's ability to learn - and translate that learning into action rapidly - is the ultimate competitive advantage. - Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric.

One important way to get this advantage is by attending and participating in professional and trade meetings. This month, AOPA provides a full menu at its National Assembly in Hollywood, Florida. More than 90 percent of the clinical education planned for the National Assembly September 20-23 has never before been offered at a national O&P meeting, according to AOPA. Also, enhanced practice management programs will help enable business owners to maintain a profitable practice without taking time away from patient care, AOPA noted. The new day pattern--Monday through Thursday--instead of the traditional Wednesday-Saturday, will enable attendees and families to enjoy a weekend of fun-filled activities.

O&P: Where Is It Heading?

Healthcare costs are rising, but O&P at this point does not seem likely to share in the increased revenue. Plus, O&P companies, like businesses everywhere, are faced with rising healthcare insurance costs for their employees--a fact that is especially putting a squeeze on smaller businesses. What current and future trends will impact O&P and healthcare in general? Some industry professionals present their analyses in one of this issue's feature articles "O&P and Healthcare: Where Are They Heading?".

New Educational Opportunity

Education can be one avenue to help O&P professionals and other allied rehab providers to control their future rather than have it control them. Keeping abreast of innovations and learning new clinical and business technologies can help drive a profitable practice while maintaining quality of patient care. Despite a discouraging reimbursement environment, opportunities for additional education continue to grow. And why is this important? One reason is, as John Latsko noted, "The visionary and creative in O&P will survive."

A new educational opportunity is detailed in the article "College-Level Courses Coming to the O&P Community" excusively online.

Surfer Makes Comeback

After an up-close-and-personal encounter with a shark in which she lost an arm, a teenage surfer not only survived but also made an amazing comeback in the sport she loves. You'll enjoy Bethany Hamilton's inspiring story in "Today's Consumer".