Bionic leg brace assists in stroke recovery | Students develop innovative prosthetic hands | Higher amputation risk seen with delayed foot care in diabetes
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March 11, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Bionic leg brace assists in stroke recovery
At the LECOM Institute for Successful Aging in Erie, Pa., Jerome Henderson is recovering from a serious stroke by walking with the assistance of an AlterG bionic leg brace. The brace automatically locks the knee in place when Henderson steps on the affected leg and releases when he shifts his weight to his unaffected leg, explained physical therapy assistant Patrick Beason. Erie Times-News (Pa.) (3/10)
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Science and Technology
Students develop innovative prosthetic hands
High school students at the NuVu Studio in Cambridge, Mass., have devoted the winter session to developing unconventional ideas for prosthetic hands. Using templates from the MakerBot Robohand project, they have designed a “Ratchet Hand” that features a cylinder that can hold a pencil, brush, knife or fork; a two-fingered prosthesis that fits into a baseball glove; and the “Swiss Army Hand,” with rotating tools. FastCoExist (3/10)
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Medical News
Higher amputation risk seen with delayed foot care in diabetes
A review of 20 cases in which diabetes patients delayed seeking treatment for foot problems found 30% of the cases required amputation to prevent additional complications. The findings underscore the importance of early intervention in diabetes patients with foot problems, researchers reported at the 2014 Diabetes U.K. Professional Conference. (U.K.) (3/7)
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Decompression surgery for diabetic neuropathy did not reduce CSA of tibial nerve
A new study in the journal Diabetes Care using ultrasound has found that decompression of the tibial nerve did not reduce its cross-sectional area in patients with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy. "We're not suggesting that decompression isn't worthwhile, only that we didn't find an effect of surgery on CSA using ultrasound," said study coauthor Marita Schouten. The authors plan a second paper on clinical outcomes such as relief from pain and tingling. Medscape (free registration) (3/10)
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Other News
Legislative and Regulatory
How to prepare for an ALJ hearing
The suspension for at least two years of Administrative Law Judge hearings, the third level in the Medicare appeals process, means O&P practitioners must prepare even more thoroughly to defend their claims when a hearing is granted. Obtaining physician documentation is paramount, writes AOPA Director of Coding and Reimbursement Services Joe McTernan, who advises thorough organization of patient charts and meticulous completion of the hearing request form. Once the hearing takes place, being concise and respectful can help your case, he notes. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (3/2014)
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Trend Watch
Ottobock keeps limbs in good shape during Paralympic Games
At the Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, 28 prosthetists are working in two Ottobock facilities to repair and maintain the athletes' devices, and, occasionally, to replace a missing prosthesis. As a partner of the International Paralympic Committee, Ottobock offers its services free. "The aim of this workshop is we want to bring all of the athletes in the same position," said Karsten Ley of Ottobock. "No one at the Games should start from a bad position because of bad gear." The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Australia) (3/8)
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Business and Finance
Ossur Academy opens in Orlando, Fla.
Ossur, based in Reykjavik, Iceland, opened a new 6,000-square-foot training center Thursday in Orlando, Fla. Ossur Academy Orlando will teach prosthetists about the company's new technology. Ossur first gained a presence in Orlando when it acquired Evolution Industries in 2011. American City Business Journals/Orlando, Fla./The Buzz blog (3/10)
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Making the most of family hires in an O&P practice
Hiring family members can be tricky, say experts, and O&P family businesses take a number of approaches to minimize problems both within the family and among other employees. Having family members read and sign a document that spells out duties, policies and procedures makes expectations clear, and asking them to prove their abilities can minimize concerns of other workers that the boss is playing favorites. It is also important to spell out how much shop talk is appropriate at family gatherings. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (3/2014)
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Breaking news from AOPA
Do you know the ABCs of Audits? Tomorrow is the AOPAversity Audio Conference that will cover what to expect and how to respond to an audit. Don't miss it -- register today! The deadline to present an abstract at the 2014 AOPA National Assembly has been extended to March 17 -- share your research and improve patient care in Vegas with AOPA! DME MACs retract article on provision of off-the-shelf and custom-fitted orthoses -- get the full story. The March issue of the O&P Almanac is online -- get your 2 Business CEs today! LIMBS International sends 150 legs to Bangladesh -- all of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
March 12: The ABC's of Audits: What to Expect and How to Respond (Telephone audio conference)
Learn more or register online.
April 2 - 4: 2014 AOPA Policy Forum, Renaissance Hotel, Washington, D.C. Learn more or register online.
April 7 - 8: Mastering Medicare: Essential Coding and Billing Seminar, Las Vegas Learn more or register online.
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We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."
-- Benjamin Franklin,
American statesman and Founding Father
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