AOPA official: Aggressive audits, claim denials are costing Medicare and O&P patients | British scientists use motion-capture technology to build better prostheses | Exo-Prosthetic leg aims for aesthetics and functionality
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December 23, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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AOPA official: Aggressive audits, claim denials are costing Medicare and O&P patients
The CMS's efforts to reduce waste have unintended consequences, writes AOPA Immediate Past President Anita Liberman-Lampear. Aggressive auditing and routine denials of O&P claims are having negative financial and emotional effects on patients, providers and insurers, she writes. Liberman-Lampear cites an Amputee Coalition study that found Medicare costs are lower when patients receive needed O&P services, including a $3,000-per-patient Medicare savings when patients are given needed lower-limb orthoses. The Roanoke Times (Va.) (12/18)
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British scientists use motion-capture technology to build better prostheses
Biomechanical researcher and bilateral above-knee amputee Dave Hensen is participating in a project at the Centre for Blast Injury Studies in London to better understand how an amputee's muscles interact with a prosthesis. The study uses motion-capture technology to investigate the forces transmitted by the prosthesis to the body, and researchers hope to develop new devices that are more efficient and more comfortable. BBC (12/19)
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Exo-Prosthetic leg aims for aesthetics and functionality
Industrial designer William Root used 3D technology to create the Exo-Prosthetic leg, which uses scans of the residual limb and remaining leg to closely resemble the amputated leg. The titanium device is printed as a 3D exoskeleton into which prosthetic components are inserted. Root hopes to automate the process to create a more aesthetic and affordable prosthesis. Gizmag (12/22)
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New relationship with Cuba may enable U.S. clinical trials of diabetic wound-healing drug
A drug developed by Cuba's Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology has the potential to save limbs, according to diabetic wound specialist Dr. David Armstrong. Heberprot aids the growth of skin where gangrenous tissue has been removed and has been used in over 170,000 patients in 23 countries, according to studies in peer-reviewed journals. U.S. policy has prevented tests of the drug in the United States, but with new, normalized relations, clinical trials may be able to proceed. Connecticut Post (Fairfield County-Bridgeport) (12/18)
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Exercise may improve BP, glucose control regardless of frequency
Individuals who performed some level of exercise -- even if it was not consistent -- showed lower blood pressure and fasting glucose levels compared with their inactive counterparts, according to a study in Preventing Chronic Disease. Researchers also found active women exhibited greater improvements in cardiometabolic markers compared with active men. (12/21), Business Standard (India)/Asian News International (12/21)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Competitive bidding reform efforts will be back in 2015
Efforts to reform the DMEPOS competitive bidding program will resurface in 2015, according to stakeholders, after the House and Senate adjourned for the year without passing relevant legislation. Plans are to focus on prior authorizations and audit reform as priorities in 2015. "With the Senate Finance Committee looking to do some audit reform, there's going to be some audit legislation," said Jay Witter, senior vice president of public policy at AAHomecare. HME News (12/19)
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89 new ACOs join CMS' shared savings initiative
Eighty-nine new accountable care organizations were added to the CMS' Medicare Shared Savings Program, raising the number of Medicare ACOs to 424. The new ACOs will join the initiative beginning in the new year at the start of the fifth MSSP performance period. (12/22)
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Business and Finance
Tax breaks for small businesses are back, but only temporarily
The good news for small businesses is that the latest U.S. budget deal brings back key tax breaks. The bad news is that the breaks expire in two weeks. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (12/17)
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Breaking news from AOPA
Prosthetic foot research funded by AOPA has been published in the Journal of Biomechanics. It was published open access -- read the article now. Man receives history-making mind-controlled prosthetic arms. Submit your paper to become a presenter at the 2015 AOPA National Assembly. The AOPA coding and billing experts are coming to Savannah on Feb. 9-10! Register now. Sign up for the 2015 AOPA webinars and get two free! 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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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Dec. 25
In observance of Christmas, AOPA in Advance SmartBrief will not publish Thursday, Dec. 25. Publication will resume Tuesday, Dec. 30.
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In the time we have it is surely our duty to do all the good we can to all the people we can in all the ways we can."
-- William Barclay,
Scottish author
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