COPA experts meet with Medi-Cal officials over proposed regulations | "Smarter" artificial muscles could improve prosthetics | Bird brain study could help improve prosthetic limbs
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December 16, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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COPA experts meet with Medi-Cal officials over proposed regulations
The California Orthotic & Prosthetic Association is seeking to educate officials of the state's Medicare program about O&P patient care in an effort to prevent new regulations that would widen the scope of pharmacists' ability to provide devices. Other concerns include the proposal that medical necessity must be documented with clinical notes. Medi-Cal is not expected to complete the rules before spring. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (12/2014)
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"Smarter" artificial muscles could improve prosthetics
British scientists are attempting to develop polymers that would incorporate shape memory to make existing "smart" polymers, used as artificial muscles, even smarter. The results could be used in artificial limbs. "We can actually design about any function or any combination of functions that you like," said Stoyan Smoukov, a materials science researcher at the University of Cambridge. IEEE Spectrum online (12/11)
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Bird brain study could help improve prosthetic limbs
Scientists at Emory University are studying how birds sing to find out how single brain cells control behavior. Using tiny electrodes to record neuron signals, researchers want to determine which is most important: the number of signals, or spikes, the neuron sends or the pattern of the spikes. Learning more about how our brains control our bodies could help improve prosthetic limbs, according to Emory Assistant Biology Professor Sam Sober. WABE-FM (Atlanta) (12/11)
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Research into brain-machine interfaces underway in India
Scientists in India are developing brain-machine interface technology that could control a prosthetic limb. Patients wear a cap that converts brainwaves into electronic signals that are translated into actions by a signal analyzer. The project at the National Brain Research Centre is being funded by India's Defence Research and Development Organization. The Times of India/Times News Network (12/12)
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Electrical signal therapy used for peripheral neuropathy
Grand Rapids, Mich., podiatrist Charles Solon is using electrical signal therapy to treat peripheral neuropathy, a technique that places electrodes on the feet and legs to improve circulation and stimulate nerves. Doctors Cynthia Cernak, Robert Odell and Peter Carney reported in an article in Podiatry Today that the technique has shown good results in their practices over the past five years. "It's not a miracle, but even small improvements make a difference when you're talking about the nerves in your feet contributing to your balance," said Diane Gerlach, one of Cernak's patients. (Michigan) (free registration) (12/15)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Consultants predict strong health plan enrollment
More than 9 million people will enroll in a health insurance plan by Feb. 15, when the 2015 Affordable Care Act open enrollment season ends, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Avalere Health predict. Bloomberg (12/12)
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Other News
Business and Finance
OSHA tightens injury reporting, recordkeeping for 2015
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration's updated regulations for 2015 will require many companies with 10 or more employees to keep OSHA 300 Logs, which document certain workplace illnesses and injuries. In 2015, employers will also face stricter reporting for fatal on-the-job incidents and inpatient hospitalizations. (12/3)
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Why you should get a line of credit when times are good
Getting a line of credit or loan when things are going smoothly can help you stay in business when an emergency strikes, writes Ami Kassar, founder of "The truth is it's easier to secure a loan or a line of credit when you don't need one rather than wait until the situation is dire," he writes. Otherwise, you might end up paying high interest rates for a short-term loan. Entrepreneur online (12/13)
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Breaking news from AOPA
Off-the-shelf orthotics are not included in the competitive bidding recompete! Read about AOPA's efforts to stop competitive bidding here. Good news: $10 million for O&P outcomes research included in the Cromnibus bill! RAC concerns are also addressed in the bill. Jurisdiction D announces widespread prepayment review of knee orthoses. Earn 2 CEUs with this month's O&P Almanac. Register for AOPA's January webinar on VA contracting. All this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News!
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Upcoming events
Jan. 14: Fill In the Blanks: VA Contracting and the New Template, webinar conference. Learn more or register online.
Feb. 9-10: Mastering Medicare: Essential Coding & Billing Seminar, Savannah, Ga. Learn more or register online.
Feb. 11: Find Success: Tips, Strategies and Understanding the Appeals Process, webinar conference. Learn more or register online
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