Aug 29 2009
In an interview this week with FOX News' Neil Cavuto, Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ) said podiatry was an "esoteric demand that most people don't have or don't need," during a discussion on health care reform. The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) finds the congressman's remarks egregious and uninformed. Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) are uniquely qualified among medical professionals to provide essential foot and ankle care based on their education, training and experience. Podiatry is not irrelevant -- it is essential medical care -- especially to the nearly 18 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes.
"It is appalling to find someone who serves on the House Republican Health Care Task Force uninformed about the valuable role of the podiatry profession in the delivery of essential medical and surgical foot and ankle care," said APMA President Ronald D. Jensen, DPM. "We are on the front lines of diabetes management. Without our services and comprehensive diabetes foot care, lower-leg amputation rates would soar."
In 2007, the U.S. health care system spent an estimated $19 billion on the care of diabetic foot ulcers, according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association (JAPMA). Studies have shown that as many as 85 percent of non-traumatic, diabetic leg and foot amputations could have been prevented with early detection and treatment from physicians such as podiatrists.
DPMs, along with key health care providers, serve as an integral part of the diabetes management team. A podiatrist's medical education and training is comparable to medical doctors, including four years of undergraduate education, four years of graduate education at one of eight accredited podiatric medical colleges and two or three years of residency training. In fact, Midwestern University, located in Arizona, has one of the best podiatric medical programs in the country. In addition, University of Arizona is internationally renowned for its podiatric diabetes research and state-of-the-art clinical care.
APMA has been an active partner in the health care reform process, seeking to safeguard the critical role of podiatrists in the prevention of such complications as foot amputations. It is important that beneficiaries of any health plan -- including Medicaid and public or private health plan -- have access to the medical care provided by DPMs.
Founded in 1912, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) is the nation's leading and recognized professional organization for doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs). DPMs are podiatric physicians and surgeons, also known as podiatrists, qualified by their education, training and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg. The medical education and training of a DPM includes four years of undergraduate education, four years of graduate education at an accredited podiatric medical college and two or three years of hospital residency training. APMA has 53 state component locations across the United States and its territories, with a membership of close to 12,000 podiatrists. All practicing APMA members are licensed by the state in which they practice podiatric medicine. For more information, visit www.apma.org.
American Podiatric Medical Association