GAO: CMS must do more to reduce duplicate claim reviews | For more: | Electromechanical technology spurs advances in exoskeletons, 3D-printed prostheses
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August 14, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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GAO: CMS must do more to reduce duplicate claim reviews
A Government Accountability Office report faulted the CMS for failing to ensure its auditors do not conduct duplicate payment reviews. CMS officials agreed with the report recommendations to improve contractor oversight and provide better guidance for auditors. The Hill (8/13)
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  • For more:
    Read more about the report, as well as AOPA's reaction, in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Science and Technology
Electromechanical technology spurs advances in exoskeletons, 3D-printed prostheses
Exoskeletons already help people walk and perform daily activities, but now developers are creating devices with higher levels of functionality for users with and without disabilities. Other technological advances include using 3D printers to craft basic custom prostheses at lower costs. One example is Not Impossible Labs' Project Daniel, which uses a Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer, the Robohand open-source plans developed by Richard Van As, as well as other components to make low-cost prostheses for amputees in third-world countries. Electronic Design (8/12)
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Medical News
Biodegradable wound dressing conforms to irregular shapes, seals out bacteria
Scientists at Tokai University in Japan have developed a nanosheet dressing made from biodegradable polyester that conforms to the contours of the human body while sealing out bacteria from a wound. The sheets adhere to flat surfaces as well as to uneven and irregular surfaces without the need for adhesives, the research team leader said. Researchers will present their findings at the American Chemical Society meeting this week. CNET (8/11)
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Hypothyroidism raises diabetic neuropathy risk
Japanese researchers found diabetes patients with subclinical hypothyroidism had a more than threefold increased odds of developing diabetic nephropathy and were more than four times as likely to suffer hypertension. Patients with diabetes and nephropathy should receive thyroid function screening, study authors wrote in the Endocrine Journal. Renal and Urology News (8/11)
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Texas hospital gives mastectomy patients free prostheses
Mastectomy patients at East Texas Medical Center are given free prosthetic bras through a hospital initiative to make them more available to women who many not have insurance coverage. Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas) (8/11)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Enrollment in Medicaid up, even where eligibility was not expanded
Medicaid enrollment has grown in states that did not expand eligibility under the Affordable Care Act as well as in states with expanded eligibility. Many new enrollees learned they were eligible through ACA outreach efforts, as was expected. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/The Upshot blog (8/12)
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Trend Watch
Pilot's prosthetic arm detaches during landing
A pilot's prosthetic arm detached from the yoke clamp while he was landing a turboprop plane in Northern Ireland with more than 50 passengers and crew, temporarily interfering with his ability to control the aircraft, according to U.K. officials. Regulators require pilots with musculoskeletal disabilities to go through medical and safety tests, and prostheses are checked for compatibility with the plane yoke. "The commander commented that he would in future be more cautious about checking the attachment on his prosthesis, as his check may have dislodged the latching mechanism," according to Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch. Bloomberg (8/14)
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Wounded veteran skydives to help other troops
Former Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills, who lost four limbs in Afghanistan, went skydiving with Maine first lady Ann LePage and All Veteran Group to raise awareness and money for a local veterans center and museum in Fort Kent, Maine. Mills, who likes to ski and snowboard in addition to his parachute jumps, has made helping other veterans with debilitating injuries his goal. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/The Associated Press (8/9)
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Veteran amputees use softball to raise awareness, inspire others
The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team travels around the country playing any other teams to raise awareness and inspire amputees to overcome obstacles to their success. The team is made up of veterans from all branches of the military and gets financial support from sponsors and the Armed Forces Foundation. Portland Press Herald (Maine) (8/9)
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Business and Finance
Complaint management systems help firms show compliance
Medical device manufacturers need complaint management systems to ensure they can show compliance with federal regulations, writes consultant Bob Mehta. Companies need a policy for receiving and evaluating complaints, procedures for documenting evidence of compliance and a fast turn-around for responses. Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry/DeviceTalk blog (8/11)
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Breaking news from AOPA
Today is AOPA's FREE OTS Orthotic Regulations webinar. Sign up and find out what the CMS proposed rule could mean for you! GAO issues a report critical of the Medicare post-payment review process -- get the scoop! An important message to AOPA National Assembly exhibitors -- read the notice and make sure you're making all of your hotel reservations through the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino! Download AOPA's exclusive 2014 National Assembly App to optimize your schedule and meeting performance. CMS issues two new "K" codes to describe OTS versions of prefabricated single and double upright knee orthoses -- all of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
Aug. 14: OTS Orthotics: What CMS's Proposed Rule Could Mean for You, Webinar conference  Learn more or register online.
Sept. 4-7:
AOPA 2014 National Assembly, Las Vegas, Nev. Learn more or register online.
Oct. 20-21: Mastering Medicare: Coding & Billing Seminar, St. Louis, Mo. Learn more or register online.
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Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure."
-- George Woodberry,
American literary critic
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