PAC bundling could threaten O&P providers | Neuroprosthetics uses sensors to control movement | MIT student wins award for improved prosthetic socket
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April 10, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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PAC bundling could threaten O&P providers
In considering post-acute care bundling, Congress indicated earlier this year that it could apply to O&P. PAC would aggregate all the services a patient might need for 90 days after hospital discharge, paying one entity that would apportion the lump sum to all involved, which could mean serious financial issues for O&P providers, according to this article. AOPA worked with congressional staff members to get O&P services excluded in the first draft of the bill, but the threat is likely to reappear, the author writes. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (4/2014)
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Neuroprosthetics uses sensors to control movement
Research into the use of electrical stimulation to bring movement back to the limbs of paralyzed individuals has also led to advances in neuroprosthetics. A new type of prosthesis places sensors inside the residual limb to allow an amputee to control an artificial limb with brain waves. The IMES, or implantable myoelectric sensor system, has given users high level of control in trials, but the system can only be used with individuals who have electrical signaling function in their residual limbs. The Daily Beast (4/10)
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MIT student wins award for improved prosthetic socket
David Sengeh, an MIT graduate student from Sierra Leone, was named one of four winners of the Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize for developing a better-fitting prosthetic leg socket using magnetic resonance imaging and 3D printing. His prosthesis is already being tested by victims of last year's Boston Marathon bombing. Sengeh also launched a nonprofit organization in Sierra Leone to encourage technological innovation. American City Business Journals/Boston/BioFlash/Mass High Tech (4/9), NBC News (4/9)
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High-school students design 3D hand for 2-year-old
Three students from Leander High School in Texas used their school's 3D printer to create a hand for a 2-year-old boy born with three missing fingers. The boy, Zaxton, loved the hand, but the students continue to work on it. "We're trying to make it sleeker, more useful, easier to use, and of course fit," said junior Jacob Ostrander. Their prosthetic hand won the SkillsUSA title at the state level. The Huffington Post (4/10)
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Medical News
Review backs resveratrol's potential in diabetes care
Resveratrol was associated with significant improvements in fasting glucose, insulin and A1C levels in patients with diabetes, according to a meta-analysis in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. However, researchers did not observe the same benefits in those who did not have diabetes. NutraIngredients (4/7)
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Legislative and Regulatory
House passes bill expanding coverage choices for small businesses
The House approved a bill intended to make it easier for small businesses to offer employees high-deductible health plans attached to health savings accounts. The bill eliminates the deductible limit for small-group plans offered both through Affordable Care Act exchanges and outside the exchanges. St. Louis Post-Dispatch/The Associated Press (4/6)
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Trend Watch
Amputees want to balance form and function
Current prosthetic options mean patients can balance function with appearance, according to Erik Schaffer, owner of A Step Ahead Prosthetics & Orthotics in Hicksville, N.Y. Many patients want a lifelike appearance to boost their confidence and avoid being labeled "disabled." Others prefer high-tech devices that "show the bones." O&P providers need to work with patients within reimbursement guidelines to give them what they want, according to this article. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (4/2014)
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Prosthetics startup wins Tufts entrepreneurial award
A new prosthetics company, BeTH, or Benevolent Technologies for Health, won a $13,000 award at the annual Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition. BeTH has designed an adjustable prosthetic liner for greater patient comfort while lowering manufacturing costs. The company previously won entrepreneurship competitions from MIT and MassChallenge. BostInno (Boston) (4/9)
PBS features prostheses for pets in new nature documentary
"My Bionic Pet," a new PBS documentary, highlights a remarkable range of animals -- from dogs, cats and horses to alligators, pigs and birds -- that have received an equally varied set of prosthetic devices, including legs, tails and even an artificial beak. The Huffington Post (4/9)
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Breaking news from AOPA
The April issue of the O&P Almanac is here! Be sure to read the Compliance Corner and the Reimbursement Page for your business credit -- it's easy and free, so get started now! Implementation of the ICD-10 code sets has been delayed for one year -- get the scoop! This year's technical fabrication contest is to fabricate a lower extremity orthosis that best reflects the entrant's interpretation of "Energy" and how it applies to O&P -- enter now! Declan Farmer was selected as IPC's Best Male Athlete of the 2014 Sochi Paralympics -- all of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
May 14:  Modifiers: How & When to Use Them (Telephone audio conference) Learn more or register online.
June 12-13: Mastering Medicare: Coding & Billing Seminar, Boston, Mass. Learn more or register online.
Sept. 4-7: AOPA 2014 National Assembly, Las Vegas, Nev. Learn more.
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