VA's prosthetics research needs stronger funding, advocate says | Middle schoolers learn the challenges of building a prosthetic arm | Survey finds few reliable studies of treatment for chronic wounds
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December 26, 2013
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VA's prosthetics research needs stronger funding, advocate says
Funding for the Medical and Prosthetic Research program of the Department of Veterans Affairs has been flat or, when inflation is taken into account, even declining at a time of urgent need to assist wounded soldiers in such areas as prosthetics and spinal cord and traumatic brain injury, writes Garry Augustine, executive director of the Disabled American Veterans' National Service and Legislative Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Many people are unaware of the degree to which medical breakthroughs by the VA have helped the general population, he writes. The Hill (12/25)
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Science and Technology
Middle schoolers learn the challenges of building a prosthetic arm
Students at Turrentine Middle School in Burlington, N.C., studied human muscles, prosthetics and the robotic arm of the Mars rover Curiosity, and worked with such materials as PVC pipe, clear plastic tubing and duct tape to build a prosthetic arm. The objective was to lift a plastic cup with the artificial arm attached to a student's shoulder. Their conclusion: "It's hard to make an arm," said seventh-grade student Nathan Ruhlman. The Deseret News (Salt Lake City) (12/23)
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Medical News
Survey finds few reliable studies of treatment for chronic wounds
Of 66 research papers on effective treatment of chronic skin wounds, most were technically flawed, making the results unreliable, according to a survey of recent scientific literature. Research papers about other treatments – such as systematic antibiotic use, radiofrequency ablation or endovenous laser treatment – supplied only inconclusive evidence that these treatments worked better than standard compression therapy or special stockings. Science World Report (12/24)
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Patients on artificial pancreas show better glucose control
A study presented at the World Diabetes Congress revealed adolescent type 1 diabetes patients who used a closed-loop continuous glucose monitoring system attained lower mean glucose levels and fewer nocturnal hypoglycemia incidents compared with those who used sensor-augmented pump therapy. Patients who used the artificial pancreas also had more time in blood glucose targets than the sensor-augmented pump arm, researchers noted. Family Practice News (12/23)
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Legislative and Regulatory
CMS names 123 new participants in Medicare Shared Savings Program
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius confirmed that 123 new accountable care organizations will join the CMS Medicare Shared Savings Program, effective Jan. 1. The groups are expected to enhance the access of about 1.5 million members of Medicare to coordinated care in the U.S. Healthcare Informatics online (12/23)
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Trend Watch
Double amputee logs 1,900 miles on cross-country bike ride
Marine veteran Rob Jones, who lost both legs in Afghanistan, is raising money and awareness for veterans on a cross-country bicycle trip that will take him a total of 5,000 miles by the time he reaches California. Jones, who won a 2012 Paralympic bronze medal for rowing, has biked around 1,900 miles so far; he is being followed by his brother driving a truck. WFIE-TV (Evansville, Ind.) (12/24)
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Business and Finance
A guide to basic accounting terminology
Business owners can benefit greatly from taking an interest in their companies' financial health, Renee Butler writes. In this article, Butler explains the meaning of key financial terms such as cash flow, gross margin and balance sheet. SCORE Small Business Success Blog (12/20)
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The benefits of holding regular performance reviews
Rather than holding a once-a-year performance-review event, it's better to keep the lines of communication open at all times, says David Hassell, CEO of 15Five. Holding weekly conversations with staff members will allow you to gain real-time insight into your business and may even help to retain employees for longer periods of time, Hassell says. Entrepreneur online (12/23)
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Breaking news from AOPA
The 2014 Medicare open enrollment period deadline has been extended--don't miss it! The Affordable Care Act grace period holds peril for providers--read all about it! Register now for the 2014 AOPAversity Audio Conference series--get the latest business information and education that the O&P industry has to offer. Register your staff today! The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the 2014 Medicare DMEPOS fee schedule. The updated fee schedule will be implemented for claims with a date of service on or after Jan. 1, 2014. All of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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March 12: The ABC's of Audits: What to Expect and How to Respond (Telephone audio conference)
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Success and failure. We think of them as opposites, but they're really not. They're companions -- the hero and the sidekick."
-- Laurence Shames,
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