AOPA: Changes to competitive bidding for orthoses would be harmful, illegal | New O&P developments are improving products, patient care | Researchers say printed micromachines could be used in smart prostheses
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August 8, 2013
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News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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AOPA: Changes to competitive bidding for orthoses would be harmful, illegal
AOPA has released a statement saying that rumors that the CMS could extend the competitive bidding program for off-the-shelf orthotics to more than 100 devices have not been confirmed, but that if they do prove to be true, the CMS would be harming Medicare beneficiaries and violating the law. "[T]he sole statutory authority CMS has been granted by Congress relates solely to 'off-the-shelf orthotics,' as that term is defined in the statute — nothing has happened to change that," AOPA said in its statement. The association has prepared a contingency plan, which includes an analysis of competitive bidding and congressional authorization, as well as requests for meetings with officials at the CMS. Healio (8/7)
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New O&P developments are improving products, patient care
Many clinicians, researchers and manufacturers are achieving breakthroughs in O&P devices using advanced techniques. 3D printing allows manufacturers to create customized devices in less time. Thought-controlled prostheses make use of targeted muscle reinnervation, linking nerves from the patient’s limb to electrodes in the prosthesis. And sensory feedback systems use electrodes on the patient’s arm to stimulate sensations for amputees and make using myoelectric devices feel more natural. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (8/2013)
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Researchers say printed micromachines could be used in smart prostheses
Printing biocompatible micromachines onto polymer membranes could be used to improve bionic limbs and make smart prostheses, according to researchers at Tel Aviv University. Prostheses could be manufactured to be safer, more comfortable and perform more efficiently with the use of microelectromechanical systems made with polymer membranes, researchers said. Currently, micromachines, which are used in many consumer electronics such as smartphones and cameras, are made from silicon, which isn't biocompatible. United Press International (8/7)
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Medical News
System reduces pain, speeds healing of skin-graft donor sites
Doctors at Davis Hospital and Medical Center's Hyperbaric and Wound Center in Layton, Utah, are using a new system to harvest tissue for skin grafts that they say reduces pain, healing time and damage to the donor site. The system is minimally invasive, allowing procedures to be done in-office instead of in an operating room. Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah) (8/5)
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Featured Content
Legislative and Regulatory
How to avoid these 10 Medicare reimbursement mistakes
When it comes to Medicare reimbursement, it is better to avoid small mistakes now so they don’t lead to bigger problems during a Medicare audit, writes AOPA Director of Coding and Reimbursement Services Joe McTernan. This article provides solutions to 10 common mistakes O&P practitioners make in regard to Medicare reimbursement, including billing the DME MAC for services provided to incarcerated patients, not documenting proof of delivery properly and giving new diabetic shoes and inserts to Medicare beneficiaries every year without noting the medical necessity. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (8/2013)
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Trend Watch
Amputee wins discrimination lawsuit against FBI
A Virginia man was awarded $75,000 for emotional pain and suffering on Wednesday in a lawsuit against the FBI that alleged he wasn't given a fair chance to become a special agent because he is an amputee. Army veteran Justin Slaby lost his left hand in a grenade accident in 2004, but passed the FBI fitness test. He said rules were applied to him that were not applied to other applicants. The court will rule next week on back pay and his status of his FBI application. Army Times/The Associated Press (8/7)
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Other News
Business and Finance
SBA launches new tool to clarify ACA employer mandate
The Small Business Administration has launched an online tool to clarify the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate, saying businesses will not be able to avoid the law's costs by cutting full-time employees to part-time hours because the government will add up the number of part-time hours to determine whether they qualify as full-time equivalent hours. The Examiner (Washington, D.C.) (8/1), blog (8/6)
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Address your business' vulnerabilities to avoid fraud
Fraud is so common that almost half of small firms are victimized on at least one occasion, according to a report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. A small business might make itself vulnerable if it fails to keep a sharp eye on payroll, trusts one employee to handle accounting tasks without oversight or allows personal relationships to influence its hiring decisions, writes Matt Garrett, CEO of TGG Accounting. Entrepreneur online (8/6)
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Breaking news from AOPA
AOPA responds to the government's motion to dismiss its lawsuit. The Early Bird registration deadline for the World Congress is tomorrow, Aug. 9--register now and save money! AOPA is seeking video submissions for the opening ceremony, and OPAF is introducing a new adaptive clinic at the World Congress. Complete the 2013 Operating Performance & Compensation/Benefits Report and read about the O&P Alliance announcement regarding Amputee Coalition’s Kendra Calhoun’s resignation – all of this and more in today’s AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
Aug. 9: Last day to save $100 off your World Congress registration
Aug. 14:
Don't Get Stuck with the Bill: Medicare Inpatient Billing (Telephone audio conference)
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Aug. 28: 2013 HIPAA and the HITECH Final Rule Webinar
Learn more and register online
Sept. 11: Read Between the Lines: The Medicare Lower Limb Prosthetic Policy (Telephone audio conference)
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