Split codes make orthosis coding tricky | Low-cost prosthetic hand controlled by muscle movements | OTC diabetic peripheral neuropathy device cleared by FDA
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July 10, 2014
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AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

Top Story
Split codes make orthosis coding tricky
On Jan. 1, the CMS implemented new codes for off-the-shelf orthoses, including 23 existing orthotic device codes that were split into off-the-shelf and custom-fitted versions. Practitioners need to decide which code to use, and the basis for that decision lies in the level of clinical care required to fit the patient, writes Joe McTernan, AOPA director of coding and reimbursement services. To use the custom-fit code, practitioners must supply documentation about modifications made to the device, their medical necessity and the credentials of the individual who made the modifications, McTernan writes. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (7/2014)
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Science and Technology
Low-cost prosthetic hand controlled by muscle movements
A student at the University of Derby in the U.K. has created the Myo, a low-cost prosthetic hand controlled by electromyography, in which electrodes connecting the hand to the residual limb transmit signals triggered by muscle movements. Fully articulated fingers are powered by two motors that work off a rotating disk in the wrist of the prosthesis. Inventor Matt Thompson hopes the device can be mass-produced to benefit amputees in poor countries. Derby Telegraph (U.K.) (7/9)
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Medical News
OTC diabetic peripheral neuropathy device cleared by FDA
The FDA has cleared for over-the-counter sale a device that helps relieve diabetic peripheral neuropathy and other chronic leg and foot pain. The Sensus Pain Management system, developed by Massachusetts-based NeuroMetrix, is a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator that is strapped around the leg. It can be activated for 60-minute sessions or placed on continuous mode. MedGadget.com (7/9)
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Aromatherapy might promote wound healing, study finds
Olfactory receptors in human epidermis cells responded to the scent of synthetic sandalwood by producing chemical events that caused more skin cells to migrate to the surface, researchers report in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. The response was similar to the normal reaction to a wound, and the researchers plan future studies on aromatherapy as a wound healing treatment. Examiner.com (7/8), Discovery (7/7)
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First U.K hand-transplant patient doing well, says surgeon
Hand-transplant patient Mark Cahill is using his hand "very naturally and very well" 18 months after surgery, according to surgeon Simon Kay. Kay performed the surgery, which was the first single-hand transplant in the country, and said four more U.K. patients are being prepared for hand transplants. The Scotsman (Edinburgh) (7/10)
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Low income linked to increased risk of peripheral artery disease
A study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes found that poverty was associated with a higher risk of developing peripheral artery disease. Using National Health and Nutrition Exam Survey data from 1994 to 2001, researchers found that the PAD risk for those in the poorest group based on self-reported income was twice that for people in the highest income group. A link between education levels and PAD risk was not significant after other factors were accounted for, the study team said. DailyRx.com (7/6)
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Legislative and Regulatory
O&P practitioners should check PDAC verifications
One of the functions of Medicare's Pricing, Data Analysis, and Coding contractor is to verify reimbursement codes for durable medical equipment, prostheses, orthotics and supplies, whether that verification stems from a request or a policy requirement. O&P practitioners need to check verifications on the PDAC website to ensure correct coding, writes Joe McTernan, director of coding and reimbursement services for AOPA. He also advises reviewing PDAC advisory articles on a regular basis. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (7/2014)
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Trend Watch
Veteran amputee uses marathon running for motivation
Afghanistan veteran Edward Lychik lost his leg above the knee on his 21st birthday when his convoy truck was hit by a shell. Two years later, wearing a prosthetic leg attached via a harness around his waist, Lychik has completed both the Boston and the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll marathons in close to four hours, beating the time of many non-amputee runners. Lychik said imagining himself running gave him motivation during his recovery. KUOW-FM (Seattle) (7/10)
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Business and Finance
Orthocare Innovations spinoff is working on activity tracker for patients with gait problems
Orthocare Innovations has spun off modus health, a new company dedicated to developing a wearable activity tracker for clinical use. The device is based on the StepWatch, which Orthocare has used for more than a decade with amputees wearing prostheses and patients with other gait problems whose conditions cannot be adequately measured with commercial activity trackers. The new company is working on adding wireless capability to the device. MobiHealthNews.com (7/9)
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AOPA News
Breaking news from AOPA
Can you spare two minutes to save your business? Send your comments to the CMS and sign up for the final AOPA Webinar on Prior Authorization today! AOPA introduces the new and improved O&P Almanac, your connection to everything O&P. Dive inside and check out the new issue today! Over 110 unique presentations will be at the 2014 AOPA National Assembly in Las Vegas -- it's the place to be, so register today! Hanger announces a scholarship to Camp No Limits, and Aetrex announces a new partnership with Justin Blair & Company -- 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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SmartQuote
When it comes to human dignity, we cannot make compromises."
-- Angela Merkel,
German chancellor
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