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News and Changes

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Changes to Assistive Devices Program (ADP) policy

Effective January 1997, the Ministry of Health, ADP decided to accept occupational therapists, physiotherapists and family physicians authorizations (in place of specialist physicians) for the replacement of two and three tier custom orthoses.

For example, upon initial ADP access, a knee-ankle-foot orthosis (KAFO) would require a specialist physician prescription, rehabilitation assessment by an occupational or physical therapist, and device authorization by a certified orthotist. To replace the KAFO, a two tier delivery model would be used which would involve the:

1) specialist physician's prescription plus the orthotist's authorization
2) family physician's prescription plus the orthotist's authorization
3) rehabilitation assessment by an occupational or physiotherapist plus the orthotist's authorization.

This new policy will allow for decreased health care costs and increased flexibility.

In the News

Algonquin Orthopaedics recently was featured in the local business newspaper. For a text version of the following article click here.

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Concern for Clients led to business opportunity   by Catherine Glass

A few years ago, Cameron Renwick was working as an orthotist in Toronto when he noticed an alarming trend. "I was seeing a lot of people from as far away as North Bay," explains Renwick, a Certified Orthotist. "Clients were delaying treatment until they absolutely had to give in. We could hav provided much more help had we seen them earlier." Renwick, who grew up in Toronto but spent considerable time at the family cottage on Rebecca Lake, just outside of Huntsville, approached his board of directors wit a proposal to open a satellite clinic in Muskoka. Orthopedic Appliance Research Ltd. (OAR) of Toronto, agreed to Renwick's relocation, and the clinic opened in December of 1996.

While a sound business decision, particularily in light of the changing demographics of Muskoka, which show a trend toward an older population, Algonquin Orthopaedics also serves a vital need. "We had a woman from Huntsville who came to our Toronto clinic. She had polio when she was young, and had long leg braces. She wouldn't come down until it was critical because of the distance involved. She would have to come down one day, spend a night, go through assessment the next day, spend another night in a hotel, and then travel home the next day. She was physically exhausted by the necessary clinic activities, combined with the journey."

Renwick's practice is not limited to Huntsville, or even Muskoka for that matter. "We draw for south of Barrie to north of North Bay," he states. "We are the only full-time Muskoka area facility capable of accessing Ministry of Health Assistive Devices Program (ADP) funding." Because Algonquin Orthopaedics is a registered vendor, the client does not have to pay up front for devices covered by ADP and wait months for reimbursement. Algonquin Orthopaedics is also set up to bill direct to some private insurance companies, the Ministry of Social Services, Workers Safety and Insurance Board adn the Department of Veterans' Affairs, again saving the client up front costs.

As well as custom leg braces, Renwick will also custom fit upper extremity bracing for repetitive strain injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, knee and foot orthotics, and "off-the-shelf" goods like knee sleeves and ankle supports. Algonquin Orthopaedics can supply any orthosis required. Virtually all devices are fabricated on site with specialized custom fittings provided. While fabrication times vary, some devices can be supplied while the customer waits and others may take a week or two. Renwick stresses that follow-up advice and service is vital, and he strives to establish a long-term relationship with his clients.

Renwick is part of a small group of professionals across Canada, numbering about 300. The certification process is lengthly and demanding, and as  a result, orthotists are in demand. About 100 applicants apply each year for eight positions in the two-year post-graduate course, offered at only two locations in Canada, one in British Columbia and the other in Toronto.   Upon successful completion of the admission requirements, there is a two-year academic and clinical portion, then a 22-month internship. Once that is complete, the candidate sits for six hours of written exams, and two days of oral and practical testing. Finally, the designation of Certified Orthotist is granted to the successful student. Before the C.O. program, Renwick received his diploma as a Registered Orthotics and Prosthetics Technician, and worked at the BloorviewMcMillan Rehabilitation Centre as well as volunteering at the Hospital for Sick Children.

Renwick reports that his service has been well received in the past two years, and business has doubled. He states that the medical community in the area has been very supportive. "Approximately 54 percent of referrals are from doctors, 20 percent from therapists, and the rest from advertising and word of mouth." "Doctors and therapists are very in tune to input. It's been a very welcome environment of come into. We work closely with G.P.s therapists and specialist physicians. Not suprisingly, Renwick recieves a lot of support from local shoe stores as well, working with them to fit clients with special needs.

Looking forward, Renwick would like to see a clinic set up in the area where patients are met by all of the local specialists. He redicts it will save time and health care dollars, and make treatment easier, particularly for those people with impiared mobility. Algonquin Orthopaedics offers a free initial consultation, and he and his staff will assist clients with any requriements from insurance companies or government ministries. The office is located at 228 Main St. west in Huntsville.



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Copyright 1998 C.M. Renwick, C.O.(c) & Algonquin Orthopaedics
Last modified: December 21, 2005