Don't lump podiatrists in with others when discussing scope of practice

LETTER — Posted Feb. 21, 2005

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Regarding "Nonphysicians eager to pick up the prescription pad" (AMNews, Feb. 7) I believe that doctors of podiatric medicine have not as much sought to expand their scope of practice as to clarify their role in patient care.

With coalition support from various medical associations, the laws governing the practice of modern podiatric medicine and surgery have been updated to accurately reflect the thorough and extensive education and postdoctoral (residency) training of the podiatrist.

The MD/DO communities have readily utilized podiatric care to the fullest extent including trauma, reconstructive, diabetic, preventive and advanced wound care involvements in office, inpatient acute care and outpatient hospital environs largely without outmoded and inaccurate discrimination.

More "DPMs" are hired to practice within orthopedic groups and multispecialty organizations than ever before because their value to patient care is evident.

The podiatrist is an integral part of the mainstream medical community, recognized by the military and Medicare as physician and surgeon, and should not be compared to the naturopath or other nonstandard practitioner.

Neil H. Hecht, DPM, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/02/21/edlt0221.htm.

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