AOPA: Unlicensed O&P providers collect billions in Medicare funds | Study proves bracing helps children with scoliosis avoid surgery | Bionic hand helps put chef back in the kitchen
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September 19, 2013
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AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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AOPA: Unlicensed O&P providers collect billions in Medicare funds
Unlicensed O&P providers collected billions of dollars in Medicare funds from 2007 to 2011 due to a lack of enforcement by the CMS, while licensed providers have faced Medicare recovery audits that are becoming more aggressive, according to a report released this week by AOPA. The study analyzed three states that mandate O&P provider certification and found that 68% of Medicare bills were for devices from noncertified entities. "This means that billions of dollars in payments were made to providers who Congress specifically intended to exclude from eligibility for payments," AOPA said in a statement. Modern Healthcare (free registration)/Vital Signs blog (9/18), MassDevice.com (Boston) (9/19)
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Science and Technology
Study proves bracing helps children with scoliosis avoid surgery
A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that when children diagnosed with high-risk scoliosis wear back braces, their condition significantly improves and the devices help them avoid spinal surgery. The study found that 72% of children treated with a brace improved and did not need surgery, and the longer they wore the brace during the day, the better their chances were at avoiding surgery. HealthDay News (9/19), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (9/19)
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Bionic hand helps put chef back in the kitchen
Chef Eduardo Garcia is back in the kitchen performing tasks as delicate as removing seeds from a vanilla bean, thanks to a motorized, wireless bionic hand from Touch Bionics and fitted by Advanced Arm Dynamics. Garcia can manipulate the hand to grip in 25 ways using his forearm muscles. Garcia's left arm was amputated below the elbow in 2011 after an electrocution. The Huffington Post (9/18)
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Medical News
Combination works as well as clindamycin for skin and soft tissue infections
A trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole combination was as effective as clindamycin in treating children and adults with uncomplicated skin and soft tissue infections, according to a study presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Clindamycin had a cure rate of 80.3% compared with 77.7% for TMP-SMX. Healio (free registration)/Infectious Disease News (9/10)
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Smith & Nephew releases antimicrobial wound dressing
The DURAFIBER Ag antimicrobial dressing, designed to treat wet wounds, is being launched by Smith & Nephew. The device features antimicrobial silver particles to prevent infection and a gelling fiber filler to absorb exudates and lock in fluid. MedGadget.com (9/16)
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Diabetes patients on moderate exercise regimen show better glucose control
Male diabetes patients who did a daily 45-minute moderate exercise routine spent less time in a hyperglycemic state during a 24-hour period than their sedentary counterparts and those who took three 15-minute walks, a small study indicated. However, engaging in daily living activities such as walking "during prolonged sedentary behavior forms a valuable strategy in the management of type 2 diabetes, especially in those patients who are unable or reluctant to perform structured exercise," researchers reported in Diabetes Care. MedPage Today (free registration) (9/18)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Medicare competitive bidding is harmful to more than just patients
Medicare competitive bidding is detrimental to patients and the economy and should be replaced with an auction-based system that includes rigorous standards for the quality of products and services, Catherine Burzik, former president and CEO of Kinetic Concepts, writes. The lack of transparency in CMS' decision-making standards, as well as the lack of penalties for winning bidders who cannot provide the devices promised or who provide poor-quality substitutes compound the problem. "It's a potential threat to patients and can lead to increased costs in our healthcare system. With some adjustments, CMS can and should make this right," she writes. MassDevice.com (Boston) (9/18)
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CMS unveils document with milestone dates for eHealth programs
CMS has issued a document that shows the milestone dates for federal eHealth reporting initiatives through next year. The programs include EHR meaningful use, the e-prescribing incentive program and the ICD-10 transition. Health Data Management (9/16)
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Monthly premiums for millions will be $100 or less after subsidies
Health insurance premiums will cost $100 or less per month, after tax credits and subsidies, for about 6.4 million people eligible to enroll in a plan through a public marketplace, an HHS report says. About 12.4 million residents of states that expanded Medicaid eligibility will also be able to pay either no premium or less than $100 monthly for coverage, according to the report, which is based on census data. USA Today (9/17)
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Featured Content
Trend Watch
British amputee trains with royal for trip to the South Pole
Major Kate Philp of the U.K. is training with Prince Harry for a four-week trip to the South Pole that includes injured British and American service personnel. Philp's left leg was amputated below the knee after her vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2008. Worcester News (U.K.) (9/17)
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AOPA News
Breaking news from AOPA
AOPA's O&P World Congress has begun, and it is running at full power with emerging innovative technologies, unlimited networking opportunities, groundbreaking product debuts and an exhibit hall full of business collaborations that will be memorable long after this congress. Please share your World Congress experience with AOPA and the O&P Almanac! Contact Steve Custer at scuster@AOPAnet.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter this with the hashtag #OPWorldCongress. We are @AmericanOandP!
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Upcoming events
Oct. 9: What's the Word: A Healthcare Reform Update & What You Can Expect (Telephone audio conference)
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Oct. 22-23: Mastering Medicare: Advanced Coding and Billing Techniques, Las Vegas
Learn more or register online
Nov. 13: Advocacy: A Potent Weapon for Change (Telephone audio conference)
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SmartQuote
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-- Bill Cosby,
American comedian and actor
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