AOPA seeks to delay RAC refunds until appeals process is complete | Sensors and smartphones move prosthetic hand | Study finds link between type 2 diabetes, light exposure

March 24, 2015
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

Top Story
AOPA seeks to delay RAC refunds until appeals process is complete
AOPA has proposed a change to the recovery audit contractor program that would allow providers to wait until an appeals ruling is issued before they must refund alleged overpayments. "More than 100 orthotic and prosthetic providers already have shut down due to delays in the Medicare appeals process and hundreds more are at risk of suffering the same thing," said AOPA President Charles Dankmeyer. Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (3/20)
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Sensors and smartphones move prosthetic hand
Japanese company Exiii presented the Handiii, a low-cost bionic arm, at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. The 3D-printed device has an electromyographic sensor that can detect movement in the residual limb and use the computing power of a smartphone or tablet to convert those signals into action in the prosthetic hand. The inventors hope to bring others in on the process through an open-source platform. Engadget (3/23), (3/23)
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Medical News
Study finds link between type 2 diabetes, light exposure
Too much exposure to artificial light at night and a lack of exposure to natural light during the day for a long period of time may be associated with the development of diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in Philosophical. The disruption of the body's circadian rhythms and production of melatonin affects a person's healthy sleep patterns, which can increase the risk of developing diabetes. (U.K.) (3/23)
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Stem cell transplants tested in mouse models of type 2 diabetes
The administration of a stem cell treatment and diabetes drugs resulted in greater metabolic improvements in mouse models of type 2 diabetes than either intervention by itself, according to a study in the journal Stem Cell Reports. The transplants involved stem cell-derived encapsulated pancreatic progenitor cells. A similar technique has been approved for use in clinical trials in the U.S. and Canada for patients with type 1 diabetes. Medical News Today (3/21)
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Legislative and Regulatory
O&P improvement bill introduced in Senate
Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Mark Warner, D-Va., introduced the Medicare Orthotics and Prosthetics Improvement Act of 2015 on Monday. The bill would require that O&P providers and suppliers be licensed and accredited to qualify for Medicare reimbursement. WOWT-TV (Omaha, Neb.) (3/23)
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Study reveals how Medicaid expansion affected diabetes diagnoses
A study published in Diabetes Care showed a 23% increase in the number of new diabetes cases identified in states that expanded Medicaid, compared with a 0.4% increase in states that did not expand the program. Researchers also said patients were more likely to be diagnosed at an earlier disease stage in states that had expanded Medicaid. A federal report released Friday showed that 11.2 million more Americans have been enrolled in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program since coverage expanded under the Affordable Care Act. U.S. News & World Report/Data Mine blog (3/23), The Hill (3/20)
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Teenager to advocate with lawmakers for younger amputees
Teenage amputee Andrew Seelhoff is traveling from San Diego to Washington, D.C., to persuade lawmakers that, like members of the military, young people should have insurance coverage for high-tech prosthetic devices. Seelhoff, who lost his leg above the knee as the result of a vascular disease, had problems with the first prosthesis he received because the socket was not a good fit. KGTV-TV (San Diego) (3/23)
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Trend Watch
Double amputee competes on "Dancing with the Stars"
Noah Galloway, 33, lost his left leg above the knee and his left arm above the elbow to an improvised explosive device while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq. He is a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars." The Inquisitr (3/23)
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Female amputees seek limbs tailored to them
Most prosthetic limbs are designed by and for men, and that has left many female amputees struggling with oversized hands and feet. A growing number of companies and independent inventors are working on customized prosthetics that let female amputees wear feminine shoes and have correctly sized limbs. Motherboard (3/17)
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Breaking news from AOPA
Getting political to make a difference. It's not too late to register for Seattle! AOPA would like to thank the 2015 Policy Forum sponsors! HOPE Careers Consortium curriculum review program. Be featured in the 2015 National Assembly: Get your papers in! Check out the latest in AOPA's Breaking News!
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Upcoming events
March 30: Deadline for 2015 AOPA National Assembly Papers Learn more
April 8: Lower-Limb Prostheses Policy: Learn the Policy Inside and Out  Learn more and register online
April 13-14: Essential Coding & Billing Techniques Seminar, Seattle. Learn more and register online.
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Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."
-- Thomas Edison,
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