Bipartisan bill to reform Medicare audits introduced in House | For more: | Vt. 5th-grader making 3D printed hand for Calif. girl
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July 15, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Bipartisan bill to reform Medicare audits introduced in House
Reps. John Barrow, D-Ga., and Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., have introduced legislation to change the Medicare audit system by requiring recovery audit and other contractors to reinstate clinical inference and judgment as a means of reducing error rates. The proposal would cut the audit review period from five to three years, establish provider outreach and education programs and exempt providers with low error rates from some or all audits for two years. HME News (7/11)
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  • For more:
    Go online to learn more from AOPA about H.R. 5083.
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Vt. 5th-grader making 3D printed hand for Calif. girl
Eleven-year-old Sierra Petrocelli, who lives in Vermont, is using a 3D-printing tutorial from the company E-Nable to fabricate a custom-made prosthetic hand for an 8-year-old girl in California. The device is the first prosthetic hand without a thumb, Alex Apple writes. "To work it, you bend your wrist and it pulls these strings back and they go all the way through the fingers," Sierra said. WCAX-TV (Burlington, Vt.) (7/16)
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Medical News
Novartis, Google team up on glucose-monitoring contact lens
Google and Novartis have reached agreement on development of a smart contact lens that would provide continuous monitoring of the fluid in a patient's eye to measure blood glucose levels. Novartis plans to develop a commercial product through its eye-care subsidiary Alcon. The Verge (7/15)
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Diabetes research includes saliva tests, microchips
Researchers at Brown University have developed a method for diabetes testing that could replace needle sticks with measurements of glucose levels in saliva. The system uses light to measure enzyme reactions to sugar in saliva that has been placed on a metal surface. So far, testing has involved only artificial saliva. In another study, scientists at Stanford University developed a microchip that evaluates blood samples to identify patients with type 1 diabetes and those at risk of the disease. HealthDay News (7/11), San Francisco Chronicle (free content) (7/13)
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Legislative and Regulatory
State regulatory activities threaten O&P reimbursement
States are looking for ways to cut costs, and regulating policies that affect O&P reimbursement is one method, according to this article, which notes that many private insurers are following suit. Alabama O&P providers were threatened with capitation, those in Tennessee are facing a 30% reimbursement cut and South Carolina providers are fighting a sales and use tax. "Any O&P group that hasn't plugged into the state decision-making process is really behind the eight ball," said Peter Thomas, general counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (7/2014)
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Prior authorization could have negative impacts
Prior authorization by Medicare is not necessarily a guarantee that O&P providers will be paid, according to Joe McTernan, director of coding and reimbursement for AOPA. Prior authorization could delay care and affect cash flow, and it could be another way for CMS to limit the autonomy of practitioners, according to this article, which notes that AOPA is working on the legislative front to promote alternative means to prevent fraud. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (7/2014)
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Business and Finance
Wright & Filippis sells off home medical care business
Michigan-based Wright & Filippis has sold off its home medical equipment and respiratory services to Lincare. "We decided we wanted to get back to our roots and focus on prosthetics and orthotics, complex rehab and our accessibility business," Wright & Filippis CEO A.J. Filippis said. HME News (7/11)
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Exoskeleton firms make public stock offerings
Three major exoskeleton companies -- Ekso Bionics, Cyberdyne and ReWalk Robotics -- have made or are planning public offerings this year. A recent report from Wintergreen Research predicts that the rehabilitation robot market will grow from $43.3 million to $1.8 billion by 2020. Ekso earned $30.3 million in its public offering, and Rewalk's stock will appear on Nasdaq this year. Cyberdyne, which originated at Japan's University of Tsukuba, is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Robohub (7/14)
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U.S. O&P company to expand in India
After operating on a pilot basis, U.S.-based Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics has decided to expand the number of clinics in India from seven to 20 over the next year. "The prosthetics and orthotics space in India is unorganized and the sector is in its early stages of growth. We can offer customized and high-end products along with the support of our rehabilitation experts," said Amit Bhanti, the company's clinical director and global chief executive officer. (India) (7/15)
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Breaking news from AOPA
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on Medicare Appeals Reform last week. Get AOPA's summary and watch Reps. Duckworth and Meadows question Chief ALJ Judge Griswold. Can you spare two minutes to save your business? Send your comments to CMS and sign up for the final AOPA Webinar on Prior Authorization before the July 28 deadline. More than 110 presentations will take place at the 2014 AOPA National Assembly in Las Vegas -– it's the place to be, so register today. New Dobson-DaVanzo Study released with Amputee Coalition states that Rehabilitation Hospitals deliver higher quality care and better results -- all of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
July 22: AOPA Prior Authorization Webinar, Webinar conference Learn more or register online.
Aug. 13:
AFO/KAFO Policy: Understanding the Rules, Webinar conference  Learn more or register online.
Sept. 4-7: AOPA 2014 National Assembly, Las Vegas, Nev. Learn more.
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