2 studies illustrate advances in prosthetic technology | Bionic-hand-maker is finalist in Intel competition | IDEO brace allows firefighter to return to work
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October 9, 2014
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News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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2 studies illustrate advances in prosthetic technology
Scientists at Case Western Reserve University used prosthetic arms equipped with pressure sensors and electrodes implanted under the skin to give amputees a sense of touch, allowing them to squeeze toothpaste tubes and pull the stem off a cherry without crushing it. Another study, in Gothenburg, Sweden, used osseointegration to attach a prosthetic arm directly to a titanium rod surgically inserted into the residual limb, with neuromuscular electrodes allowing the patient to control the limb with his mind and receive sensory feedback. Both studies appear in the journal Science Translational Medicine. ScienceMag.org (10/8), PopularMechanics.com (10/8), Medical News Today (10/9)
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Science and Technology
Bionic-hand-maker is finalist in Intel competition
Open Bionics, one of the U.K. finalists in the Intel Make It Wearable competition, is developing a lower-cost bionic prosthetic hand that has a single motor for each finger and thumb. Each finger can sense how much force is applied, and users can achieve specific grips with software. Developers aim to have the hand support a patient's weight during a pull-up. Pocket-Lint.com (U.K.) (10/8)
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IDEO brace allows firefighter to return to work
Seattle firefighter Matt Runte, who lost the ability to walk after a motorcycle accident, has been fitted with the IDEO orthosis, developed by Ryan Blanck. Runte has regained full function in his left foot and is returning to firefighting. KING-TV (Seattle) (10/8)
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Medical News
USPSTF recommends wider diabetes screening
Draft recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force call for diabetes and blood glucose screening for people 45 and older and younger adults with risk factors. The guidelines, updated from 2008, are similar to those made by other medical groups and include recommendations for diet and exercise interventions for at-risk patients. Medscape (free registration) (10/6)
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App would allow remote wound monitoring
Startup application developer Healogram is working on a platform to allow remote monitoring of wounds. The app could reduce the need for in-person appointments with wound care doctors by allowing either discharged patients or visiting nurses to keep physicians updated on the wound-healing progress through images snapped at home. MedCityNews.com (10/3)
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Legislative and Regulatory
VA institutes new contracting requirements for prosthetic services
In the wake of negative publicity about health care for veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs will implement a more competitive process for obtaining prosthetic services from outside contractors. Among the new requirements, which will be phased in with new contracts, are board certification for providers and board accreditation for facilities, a consistent reimbursement methodology for unlisted L codes and semiannual service visits for veterans receiving prosthetic care. These and other new rules may be challenging, but the resulting consistency is a welcome change, writes Joe McTernan, director of coding and reimbursement services for AOPA. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (10/2014)
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Business and Finance
Useful definitions for determining your tax burden
Tax law is very specific when it comes to small businesses, writes attorney Barbara Weltman. She goes over 10 definitions to help you figure out whether your business qualifies for an assortment of tax breaks. Small Business Trends (10/7)
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Online resources aid disaster preparedness
Natural and man-made disasters can lead to a business permanently closing, yet a survey by the Ad Council shows that nearly two-thirds of small firms have not planned for such events. However, help is available in the form of online resources set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration. USA Today (10/4)
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Breaking news from AOPA
AOPA can now provide disability, life, dental, vision, critical illness and accident insurance. Get the update; open enrollment begins soon! The Orthotics & Prosthetics Outcomes Research Award and Funding has been announced by the Department of Defense as available in fiscal year 2014 -- read more about the opportunity and funding available for this award! The October O&P Almanac is out -- earn four continuing education credits with the Reimbursement Page and Compliance Corner columns! OPAF First Swing in Milwaukee is a success, and Ottobock partners with Cuban Orthopedic Hospital -- all of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News!
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Upcoming events
Oct. 20-21: Mastering Medicare: Coding & Billing Seminar, St. Louis, Mo. Learn more or register online.
Nov. 12: Gifts: Showing Appreciation without Violating the Law, webinar conference Learn more or register online.
Dec. 10: New Codes & Changes for 2015, webinar conference Learn more and register online.
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