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A primary factor contributing to the rosy outlook for allied health professionals is the ''managed care" system taking root in the healthcare industry today. Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) offer a perfect example of managed care. HMOs operate by setting fixed fees for healthcare services provided under their plans. If those needs are met for less, that extra money becomes profit for the HMO. In other words, the doctors don't decide what to charge for their servicesthe HMOs do. And oftentimes it simply costs less, without sacrificing quality of care, to get somebody else (namely, an allied health professional) to do certain things the doctor used to do.

Orthotists design, build, and fit devices to support weak body parts or correct physical defects, such as limb or spinal cord disorders stemming from cerebral palsy, polio, or a stroke. ) Pharmacists dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other medical practitioners, advise about medications, and consult with physicians about the selection, dosages and effects of medications. Podiatrists are doctors of podiatric medicine who diagnose and treat disorders, diseases, and injuries of the foot and lower leg.

In addition, it directs you to accredited education programs and training sources, professional associations, government agencies, and potential employers statewideincluding hospitals, residential healthcare facilities, nursing homes, and home healthcare agencies. Most of the remaining chapters in this book focus on test preparation for two examinations widely used by accredited allied health education programs across the country. At many schools, candidates for four-year or graduate degree programs for a range of allied health occupations must take the Allied Health Professions Admission Test (AHPAT).

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