CMS invites comments on SNF PPS proposed rule for 2015 | For more: | DEKA's robotic arm for amputees obtains FDA approval
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May 13, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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CMS invites comments on SNF PPS proposed rule for 2015
The Medicare Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment proposed rule for fiscal year 2015 has been published by the CMS. The agency has invited stakeholders to comment on the proposed rule, including making suggestions for any additional services that should be excluded from consolidated billing within the customized prosthetic devices service category. Comments will be accepted by the CMS through June 30. Health Industry Washington Watch blog (5/13)
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DEKA's robotic arm for amputees obtains FDA approval
DEKA Integrated Solutions received FDA approval for its DEKA Arm System, an advanced prosthetic device that can aid amputees in performing 10 movements. About 90% of patients who used the robotic arm in a clinical study were able to carry out complicated tasks, the FDA said. Electromyogram electrodes pick up activity from muscle contractions and send signals to a computer processor in the arm, enabling it to perform such tasks as picking up small objects, using zippers and opening locks with keys. MedPage Today (free registration) (5/9), Reuters (5/9)
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Medical News
Scientists study grape skin extract as diabetes treatment
Wayne State University researchers found that grape skin extract may have an impact on type 2 diabetes by inhibiting hyperglycemia. In a $2.1 million study funded by the NIH, the scientists are hoping their work may lead to a safe, low-cost nutritional intervention for the disease. Nutraceuticals World online (5/12)
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Liquid metal alloy could help reconnect damaged nerves, study suggests
A liquid metal alloy may one day be injected into patients to help repair nerve damage, then be removed when it's no longer needed, said researchers who are testing the method on bullfrogs. Scientists at Beijing's Tsinghua University used an alloy of gallium, indium and selenium on the severed sciatic nerve of 10 bullfrogs, finding that electrical signals conducted by the alloy were just as good as a healthy nerve. "Of course ... tremendous evaluations about the safety of the material are needed," said researcher Jing Liu. New Scientist (5/2)
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Legislative and Regulatory
CMS taps contractors for Medicare quality program
The CMS has enlisted two private contractors to oversee its Quality Improvement Organization initiative in an effort "to restructure the QIO Program to gain efficiencies, to eliminate any perceived conflicts of interest, and to better address the needs of Medicare beneficiaries," the agency said. The contractors are Livanta, based in Maryland, and KePRO, based in Ohio. The Hill (5/9)
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OCR plans preaudit surveys as it crafts HIPAA audit program
The HHS Office for Civil Rights plans to send preaudit surveys to as many as 1,200 organizations to gain more insight as it finalizes its HIPAA Audit program. The survey will collect data on issues such as "the number of patients or insured lives, use of electronic information, revenue, and business locations," the agency said in a notice. Health Data Management (5/12)
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Trend Watch
Athlete returns to Alaska triathlon after losing leg
Judy Abrahams last competed in Alaska's Gold Nugget Triathlon in 2005, the year before a car accident that later resulted in a below-knee amputation. This year, she is competing again, using a prosthetic leg with a custom foot for bicycling, which she will unscrew and replace with a regular foot for the final 4.1-mile run. Abrahams hopes to work her way to elite para-athlete status. Anchorage Daily News (Alaska) (free registration) (5/10)
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Indian security staff trained on checking passengers with prosthetic limbs
Members of India's Central Industrial Security Force are receiving special training to enable them to conduct more sensitive security checks of airline passengers with prosthetic limbs. Some passengers had complained to the agency about having to remove their prosthetic limbs during checks. (India) (5/12)
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Breaking news from AOPA
The AOPA 2014 National Assembly program is HERE -- register today! It's the place to be, and we'll see you there! It's hot news that the FDA approved pre-market notification for the DEKA prosthetic arm -- read all about it. Jurisdiction D DME MAC releases the results of its first quarter review of diabetic shoes -- get the scoop here! Tomorrow is the AOPAversity Audio Conference: Modifiers -- How & When to Use Them. Don't miss it! Register now and get your business credit tomorrow. All of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
May 14:  Modifiers: How & When to Use Them (Telephone audio conference) Learn more or register online.
June 12-13: Mastering Medicare: Coding & Billing Seminar, Boston, Mass. Learn more or register online.
Sept. 4-7: AOPA 2014 National Assembly, Las Vegas, Nev. Learn more.
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