Advanced bionic hand restores sensation of touch | British students building artificial leg for scuba diver | Eating fermented dairy products may cut diabetes risk
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February 6, 2014
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AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

Top Story
Advanced bionic hand restores sensation of touch
European scientists have developed a bionic hand that transmits the sensation of touch. Dennis Sørensen, who lost his hand in a fireworks accident, was blindfolded and wearing earplugs, yet he could distinguish between round and square or soft and hard objects. The hand, developed at the Swiss École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the Italian Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, uses ultrathin electrodes implanted in nerves in Sørensen's residual limb. PopularMechanics.com (2/5), The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (2/5)
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Science and Technology
British students building artificial leg for scuba diver
A team of students from Brunel University in Britain is designing a special swim prosthesis for a woman who lost her leg in an auto accident and wants to become a fully qualified scuba diver. The students are trying to develop a socket that works under water and to deal with trapped air in the prosthesis that would react to water pressure. "Ideally I need to come up with a socket that can transfer from a finning to a walking limb and that isn’t proving easy," said mechanical engineering student Dhiran Patel. Watford Observer (U.K.) (2/5)
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Medical News
Eating fermented dairy products may cut diabetes risk
Participants who had the highest yogurt consumption had 28% lower odds of developing type 2 diabetes than did those who didn't eat yogurt, a study in Diabetologia says. Researchers also found that those who consumed greater portions of all fermented dairy products were 24% less likely than those with no intake to have diabetes. HealthDay News (2/6)
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Leeches help save man’s hand from amputation
When Sam Leon of Illinois suffered a serious hand injury in an industrial accident, doctors avoided amputation by employing more than 1,400 leeches over a period of 29 days to ensure blood flow before restorative surgery. "The leeches are able to secrete a substance that is a very powerful blood thinner and it allows your wound to continue to drain until your own veins have reformed," explained surgeon Brian Bear. The West Australian (2/5)
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Scientists find molecule that hinders diabetic wound healing
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have determined that a molecule called PGC-1 alpha, which may help grow new blood vessels in injured muscle tissue, has the opposite effect in endothelial cells that line the blood vessels, where it prevents healing. This can be a serious problem for people with diabetic wounds. The study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, also indicated that elevated blood sugar levels can trigger high levels of PGC-1 alpha. eMaxHealth.com (2/4)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Date of service is not always date of delivery in Medicare billing
The date of service is a basic tenet of Medicare billing, and in certain cases, that date may not be the actual date of delivery, writes Devon Bernard, AOPA manager of reimbursement services. CMS allows you to deliver a custom device to a Medicare beneficiary in a hospital or skilled nursing facility within 48 hours of the patient going home, and bill Medicare for the device, as long as the device is used only for training purposes. Bernard outlines criteria for meeting the two-day rule; if met, the discharge date becomes the date of service. Other exceptions include billing for refused items or services, which has its own set of criteria. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (2/2014)
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RAC contractors protest CMS policy changes
The American Coalition for Healthcare Claims Integrity, which represents recovery audit and other health payment contractors, is protesting new policies by the CMS that limit the RAC program, including suspending appeals to administrative law judges and more recently delaying enforcement of a rule that would deny in-patient reimbursement for hospital stays that do not span two midnights. The coalition has asked Congress to immediately reinstate auditing, saying that 70% to 80% of the RAC program has been suspended, essentially shutting it down, a coalition representative says. The American Hospital Association has expressed support for the enforcement moratorium by the CMS. Health Data Management (2/4)
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Other News
Trend Watch
Skiing program focuses on teen amputees
Teen amputees from five states and Chile participated in the Children Un-Limb-ited Camp in Park City, Utah, sponsored by Shriners Hospital for Children. Teachers from the National Ability Center offered instruction and provided adaptive equipment for skiing and snowboarding. The Deseret News (Salt Lake City) (2/5)
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AOPA News
Breaking news from AOPA
Call to action! Today is an important day to send letters to Congress and your representatives in order to restore due process from the ALJ hearings delay and to also support the expansion of O&P master's education programs with Senate Bill S. 1950. Act now! Learn more about the distance learning opportunities that AOPA offers -- get your business credits today! AOPA's 2014 Quick Coders are available in the bookstore. With vast changes to the 2014 Medicare codes, don't be left out in the cold. Get yours today! Ottobock names a new ambassador: Keith Gabel. All of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
Feb. 10-11: Mastering Medicare: Essential Coding and Billing Techniques Seminar, New Orleans
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
Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr,
American theologian
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