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The draft bylaws for the proposed new association, American Association for Orthotics and Prosthetics, set forth the corporate terms by which it will operate. As part of the new organization, the Academy, AOPA, ABC and NCOPE would cease to operate as independent bodies and would merge their operations. Appropriate support services provided by the National Service Office would also be transitioned.
The boards of directors of the Academy, AOPA, and ABC, and the NCOPE board of commissioners invite your comments and views concerning the contents of these bylaws. With respect to certain Articles, a number of issues have yet to be completely resolved. They are noted by "text boxes" and are more fully described in the following commentary.
If you wish to make comments, please address them to the National Service Office. You may also send your views by Internet E-mail to:. Your comments may be submitted at any time. A draft of the bylaws will be distributed at the Academy Annual Meeting in New Orleans. You may also participate in an ongoing discussion of issues on the OandP Listserv. To subscribe, send an Internet E-mail message to . In the body of the message type: Subscribe oandp-l, your first name, your last name, and credentials. To post a message, send to .
Article II - Membership, Section 3b
As a condition of eligibility for this voting membership category, an Active Company Member must employ an orthotist and/or prosthetist who is certified by and in good standing with ABC. There may be circumstances, however, when an active company member may lose its ABC certifee, or the certifee is not "in good standing" with the ABC, thus jeopardizing its continued membership in this category.
The ABC has developed a policy for its accreditation program that addresses this issue. Specifically, an accredited organization that loses its certified practitioner will be given a period of 6 months to select a new certifee. During this period, the organizations accreditation status will not change. Thus, the new Association will develop a similar policy in order to permit an active company member an adequate period to secure an ABC certified, and in good standing practitioner. This will allow continued participation in this category.
It should also be noted that an organization may be unable to employ a certified practitioner. If so, it may still join the Association as an Allied Company Member. However, as currently contemplated, voting rights are not extended to this category of business membership.
Article IV - Officers, Section 3
As currently structured both the ABC and the Academy elect a secretary/treasurer who customarily ascends through the officer chairs. The AOPA, on the other hand, has isolated its treasurer from the automatic ascension process. In addition, the AOPA treasurer now serves a two-year term.
These bylaws follow the AOPA concept. That is, only a person elected as President-elect will automatically ascend to the President and the Immediate Past President positions. The treasurer will be elected for a two year term. This will facilitate a more stable leadership oversight of the organizations financial affairs.
Article VII - American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics
As part of the consolidation initiative, the ABC Board of Directors has agreed to transition the ABC from an independent incorporated entity into an operating division of the Association. However, the integrity of its credentials must be ensured and objective oversight of its programs must be maintained. Thus, while the ABC will no longer be an incorporated not-for-profit organization, the ABC board of commissioners will retain autonomous authority to operate all of its programs. This includes the right to select and terminate its chief staff executive, establish and control its financial affairs, establish necessary policies and procedures and to issue, reject and withdraw ABC credentials. In so doing, the ABC will continue be able to fulfill requirements established by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies to avoid "undue influence" by the membership organization that represents its certified practitioners and accredited organizations.
Article VIII - National Commission on Orthotics and Prosthetics Education
The NCOPE will also transition from an operating division of the National Service Office to an operating division of the Association. However, in keeping with its role as a member of the Commission on the Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), the NCOPE board of commissioners will retain its authority to oversee and manage its programs. Thus, the NCOPE board of commissioners, in consultation with the Associations Executive Committee, will have the authority to select/terminate its executive director.
Article IX - Local Chapters
As noted in the text box, Association sponsorship of local chapters, either by state or region, creates a number of complex operational and legal issues. This is especially acute with respect to whether the Association should accept any fiduciary responsibilities for such chapters. For example, if the Association were to be the official sponsor of the chapter(s), conflict could arise in areas of public policy. In order to prevent these circumstances, potentially elaborate mechanisms would need to be created so that policy issues were appropriately coordinated between the Association and the chapter. Thus, in protecting the interests of the Association, a local chapter(s) may be inhibited from adequately representing its local constituency. With respect to financial stability, the Association could well be liable for the actions of the chapter and its financial actions.
Therefore, the authors of these draft bylaws are keenly interested in the viewpoints of the Academy and AOPA membership.
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