Changes in HCPC codes pose challenges for O&P | World Cup to open with kick by paralyzed teen in exoskeleton | Changing health care scene affects O&P industry
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January 7, 2014
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AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

Top Story
Changes in HCPC codes pose challenges for O&P
The O&P Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System got 24 new codes, 63 descriptor changes and one deletion as of Jan. 1. Most codes are the result of separating prefabricated orthoses into two categories, off-the-shelf items and those that require a trained person to fit them properly, according to AOPA's Director of Reimbursement Services Joe McTernan. AOPA’s concerns include the overly broad definition of OTS devices, the reaction of Durable Medical Equipment Medicare Administrative Contractors to the changes, and the effect of this split on audits and competitive bidding. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (1/2014)
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Science and Technology
World Cup to open with kick by paralyzed teen in exoskeleton
A paralyzed teenager using a thought-controlled exoskeleton is slated to kick the ceremonial first ball at the men’s soccer World Cup in Brazil in June. The device will use electrodes attached to the scalp or implanted into the brain of the user. Neuroscientist Miguel A.L. Nicolelis of Walk Again, an organization promoting technology to overcome paralysis, came up with the idea. His team is considering incorporating additional sensors into the exoskeleton to provide feedback via a visual display or vibrating rotor, and to monitor temperature, touch and force. CBS News/Reuters (1/6)
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Medical News
Changing health care scene affects O&P industry
Upheavals in health care will have a profound impact on O&P providers, according to this article, which lists the five most important issues facing the industry. The most dominant is Recovery Audit Contractor audits, which are expected to increase and evolve. Other issues that will affect O&P in the coming year include: competitive bidding; unanswered questions about the Affordable Care Act, as well as the need for small businesses to provide health insurance to workers; technological advancements; and practice consolidations. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (1/2014)
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Global obesity rates show significant growth
The proportion of adults with a BMI higher than 25 increased from 23% in 1980 to 34% in 2008, and the rates of heart attack, stroke and diabetes are expected to soar, the Overseas Development Institute says. Most of the growth in obesity rates was observed in developing countries, while North America had the highest percentage of adult obesity. BBC (1/2)
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Legislative and Regulatory
CMS touts progress with Medicare digital documentation system
The CMS said its esMD digital documentation program has seen increased adoption since it was launched in 2011 to offer providers a way to communicate with Medicare auditors other than via mail or fax. In a report, the agency said nearly 500,000 records were transmitted through the system last year, adding that 55 providers are now using the system for prior authorization requests, while more than 30,000 doctors, hospitals and medical device suppliers are using it for medical data requests from auditors. Government Health IT online (1/6)
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Trend Watch
Land mine victims make artificial legs in Myanmar
Land mine victims who lost legs in the long-running war of the Karenni people against the government of Myanmar now make wooden prosthetic limbs for soldiers and villagers who have also lost legs to land mines in the region. The factory, located near the Thai border, manufactures about 100 artificial legs a year. WorldCrunch.com (France) (1/6)
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Business and Finance
Analysis: Qualified retirement plans have new wrinkles
Businesses and self-employed people who have a qualified retirement plan or are considering choosing one should be aware of changes in 2014, including the option of in-plan rollovers to designated Roth accounts and higher limits for contributions and benefits payable for some plans, Barbara Weltman writes. Small Business Trends (1/6)
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Small businesses get creative to bend the health care cost curve
Employers and small businesses can reduce health care costs by helping employees stay healthy and helping them avoid treatment for diseases, experts say. Employers can run fitness challenges, offer incentives to employees who adopt healthy behaviors and encourage employees to use fitness devices and applications. MainStreet.com (1/3)
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AOPA News
Breaking news from AOPA
Tomorrow is the AOPAversity audio conference that will focus on billing opportunities that you may have overlooked. Are you billing for all that you can? Register now! AOPA's 2014 coding products are available in the bookstore for pre-order. Anticipated delivery is March 1--hit the ground running and put in your pre-order today! AOPA’s first 2014 Coding & Billing Seminar is going to New Orleans this February. Get the latest information on medical policies, documentation and compliance--register your staff today! All of this and more in today’s AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
Jan. 8: New Year, New Opportunity: Are You Billing For All That You Can? (Telephone audio conference)
Learn more or register online.
Feb. 12: Billing for Diabetic & Orthopedic Shoes, Mastectomy Services, and Surgical Dressings (Telephone audio conference) Learn more or register online.
March 12: The ABC's of Audits: What to Expect and How to Respond (Telephone audio conference)
Learn more or register online.
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SmartQuote
The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change."
-- Carl Rogers,
American psychologist
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