CMS proposes changing rules on off-the-shelf orthoses | Experts find solutions to obstacles in offering new, high-tech products | New technology helps prostheses work seamlessly for amputees
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August 26, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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CMS proposes changing rules on off-the-shelf orthoses
The CMS is considering new rules that would define who can fit off-the-shelf orthoses, which would also affect the rules for custom devices. While certified orthotists would be able to fit both off-the-shelf and custom orthoses, the rule would bar certified orthotic fitters from fitting anything but off-the-shelf devices. AOPA Executive Director Thomas Fise encourages members to submit comments on the rules to AOPA by Aug. 28, and the association will deliver all comments to the CMS before the agency's Sept. 2 deadline. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (8/2014)
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Science and Technology
Experts find solutions to obstacles in offering new, high-tech products
Complexity, costs and reimbursements, and potential glitches are three big challenges practitioners face when deciding whether to offer new, high-tech prostheses and orthoses to patients, experts said. Solutions that could make offering new devices a more comfortable choice include taking advantage of training provided by the manufacturer, both for the device and on how to obtain reimbursement, and researching new products to learn if any problems have been reported. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (8/2014)
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New technology helps prostheses work seamlessly for amputees
Advanced microprocessor technology has led to the creation of artificial limbs that are fully functional except for sensation, said Russell De Palma, chief prosthetic clinician at the Center for Orthotic and Prosthetic Excellence in Munster, Ind. New mind-controlled arms and legs are in development and testing at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and lead scientist Levi Hargrove said intelligent engineering has led to the development of a bionic leg that learns and performs activities for amputees in a seamless fashion. The Times (Munster-Hammond-Merrillville-Valparaiso, Ind.) (8/24)
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Research team shows off pattern recognition controller at Canadian symposium
Researchers from Chicago-based Coapt showcased their pattern recognition controller for upper-body prostheses at a symposium held by their alma mater, the University of New Brunswick's Institute of Biomedical Engineering. Some 200 researchers and prosthetic manufacturers attended the event in Canada. The Coapt bionic device is installed inside the prosthetic limb to give the user greater control. (Canada) (8/22)
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Medical News
Immunization with 2 polio vaccines yields better outcomes in children
Among children who were previously given live-attenuated oral poliovirus vaccine, those who received a booster of injected inactivated poliovirus vaccine showed the best improvement in immune response to the virus, a study found. Researchers found lower viral shedding in the IPV group than in those who got an extra dose of oral vaccine. The findings appear in the journal Science. (Canada)/The Canadian Press (8/21), (8/21)
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Legislative and Regulatory
New CMS background checks take effect for DMEPOS suppliers
The CMS said it began its fingerprint-based background check screening process on Aug. 6 for some high-risk suppliers and providers who participate in federal health care programs. People who have a 5% or greater ownership interest in DMEPOS supplier companies fall under the high-risk category and are subject to fingerprinting and an FBI background check, but the CMS said not everyone would be included in the first round. Health Industry Washington Watch blog (8/21)
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Senator calls for eliminating device tax amid collection difficulties
A Treasury Department report citing issues with collection of the medical device tax is another example of problems with the tax, said Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind. "This latest report highlights what nearly 80 senators agree on -- the medical device tax should be repealed because it stifles innovation and kills jobs," he said. The Hill/Floor Action Blog (8/22)
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Trend Watch
Teter O&P helps amputees in Dominican Republic
Teter Orthotics and Prosthetics in Traverse City, Mich., is part of the Limbs4Life effort to provide prostheses to amputees in the Dominican Republic. CEO Todd Stone said the need for prostheses is great, and while the company pays for parts and some labor, Teter employees also volunteer their time to make the artificial limbs. Traverse City Record-Eagle (Mich.) (tiered subscription model) (8/22)
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Students design clothing to be easily worn over prostheses
Students at the MIT Open Style Lab are creating specialized clothing that meets the needs of people with amputations, injuries and disabilities. Companies that make accessible clothing often focus on the elderly, so the MIT lab designs more formal clothing for people to wear to work. Hanger Clinic Business Development Manager Mike Benning, who is an above-elbow amputee, found it was difficult to put a coat on over his prosthetic hand, so the design team used a 3D printer to create a sheath that smooths the way for the prosthesis to fit into the arm of the coat. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (8/23)
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Breaking news from AOPA
AOPA members: Have you voted in the AOPA 2014 Election? Cast your vote today! Send your comments on OTS Orthotics to CMS before the Aug. 28 deadline. The proposed rule could limit your patients' access to care and eliminate the role of orthotic fitters -- submit now! DME MACs issue a clarification regarding date requirements on proof of delivery documentation -- get the update! The clock is ticking -- registration is still open online for the 2014 National Assembly. Don't miss out on the O&P meeting of the year! Download AOPA's exclusive 2014 National Assembly app to optimize your schedule and meeting performance. College Park appoints a new clinical education manager -- all of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
Sept. 4-7: AOPA 2014 National Assembly, Las Vegas, Nev. Learn more or register online.
Sept. 10: Urban Legends in O&P: What to Believe, Webinar conference  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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The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
-- William Arthur Ward,
American writer
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