Obtaining Mastectomy Fitter Certification
Providers must have the right knowledge and compassion required to help patients negotiate a traumatic life change and ensure success.
- By Joseph Duffy
- Oct 01, 2017
With the increase of mastectomies being performed as an outpatient procedure, patients are often launched into their new reality with trepidation. The HME provider needs to be prepared to equip the patient with the proper garments, answer questions about the products and procedure, and instill confidence to help support this traumatic change. A certified mastectomy fitter is trained to do this and much more.
“These patients are in real need of qualified guidance, and if an HME provider gains the patient’s trust during this pivotal time, the provider can earn long-term business, as women are frequently the decision-makers when it comes to purchasing HME products for the entire family, from children and spouses to aging parents,” says L. Bradley ‘Brad’ Watson, BOCO, BOCP, LPO, Chair of the BOC Board of Directors, Owner of Clarksville Limb & Brace in Clarksville, Tenn. “The high potential of this business model coupled with the personal satisfaction of helping these patients make the market very desirable to many providers.”
Steve Fletcher, CPO, LPO, American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics (ABCOP), which offers certification for mastectomy fitters, says having a certified mastectomy fitter on staff is required by Medicare for billing and to provide post-mastectomy care. In addition, many insurers follow these Medicare guidelines as a standard of care.
According to Watson, The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) was the first credentialing organization to develop and offer this certification, and since then has certified thousands of fitters around the country.
“Trained and certified mastectomy fitters are integral to the physical and emotional well-being of patients,” he says. “A certified mastectomy fitter is qualified to provide and supervise the assessment, treatment plan development and implementation, follow-up and practice management of women using external breast prostheses and other post-mastectomy products. Certified mastectomy fitters are recognized professionally as
having completed education and training that give a provider expertise and credibility. In today’s competitive marketplace, having a mastectomy fitter certification can be the advantage a provider needs.”
Eligibility prerequisites to take BOC’s Certified Mastectomy Fitter exam are successful completion of an entry-level education program and 120 hours of documented patient care. From the date you submit your application, you have three years to register for and successfully complete your exam, which costs $150. Once you become certified, you will renew your certification annually and meet continuing education requirements to maintain your certification.
For ABCOP, to become certified, a provider must take a basic fitting training course, and complete 125 to 250 hours of patient care experience depending on qualifications. The training course is usually one day and can cost between $100 to $125. The training covers breast cancer types, stages and surgeries; breast anatomy and pathophysiology; and how to measure, fit and select product. It also covers regulatory issues, billing and basic patient management.
According to Fletcher, all certified mastectomy fitters must complete 10 hours of continuing education specific to post-mastectomy during their five-year certification cycle.
For more information, contact:
The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC)
American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics (ABCOP)
This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of HME Business.
Joseph Duffy is a freelance writer and marketing consultant, and a regular contributor to HME Business and DME Pharmacy. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.