June 2000 Bulletin

AAOS approves lower limb statement

Some providers expanding scope of practice beyond education, training, experience

The AAOS Board of Directors approved a Position Statement that defines minimum qualifications for performing musculoskeletal reconstructive surgery on the lower extremities.

The statement on Surgical Care of the Lower Extremities was approved by the board in March in recognition that "efforts are being made by some health care providers to expand their scope of practice beyond the limits of their education, training, and experience. State laws and local practice standards frequently do not take these limits into account when establishing law and credentialing standards. In many areas of the country, practitioners with inadequate training are performing reconstructive surgery despite the risk of harm to patients."

The AAOS believes that the minimum qualifications for any health care provider performing musculoskeletal reconstructive surgery on the foot, ankle and lower extremities are:

The AAOS believes that orthopaedic surgeons are the most qualified providers of musculoskeletal patient care who can function as cost-effective primary care providers for foot and ankle care in any health care delivery model. Orthopaedic surgeons are physicians who, given their education and training, can recognize and respond effectively to serious medical complications which may arise and complicate the treatment of any disorders in the foot, ankle, and lower extremities.

The AAOS believes that any specialty or provider group seeking surgical privileges should have one national surgical board and a uniform certification process, with examinations, like that found in orthopaedic surgery. Also, the AAOS said the official surgical board should be recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, or equivalent, for the given specialty or provider group.

Further, the AAOS believes that any specialty or provider group seeking surgical privileges should, through its nationally-recognized accrediting body, possess uniform surgical residency requirements, and a system of accredited residency programs, leading to Board Certification, like that found in orthopaedic surgery.

The Position Statement on Surgical Care of the Lower Extremities is in the "Library Section" of the AAOS home page www.aaos.org and available from Fax-on-Demand by calling (800) 999-2939 and asking for document number 1148.


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