Athletes and prosthetists prepare for Sochi Paralympic Games | Paralympic winter athletes face special challenges | Google Glass app allows physicians to evaluate wounds remotely
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February 11, 2014
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News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Athletes and prosthetists prepare for Sochi Paralympic Games
Three elite Paralympic athletes and their prosthetists talk about their experiences preparing for the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, beginning March 7. For para-snowboarder Keith Gabel, the biggest challenge has been the fit of the socket to deal with high-impact stresses, says prosthetist Jared Larson. Sled-hockey player Andy Yohe, who works for his prosthetist, Ken Meier, trains with his prostheses even though he will not wear them in competition. Stan Patterson, the prosthetist for para-snowboarder Amy Purdy, observes that treating athletic patients forces practitioners to be creative. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (2/2014)
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Paralympic winter athletes face special challenges
It may be years before a Paralympic winter athlete can challenge normally abled competitors in skiing or snowboarding, as Oscar Pistorius did in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, according to this article. One reason is the complexity of prosthetic design required to deal with everything from cold and snow to absorbing shock and making tight twists and turns. "There's a whole lot more involved to get that ski to turn than if it's just the foot planted," said Bill Beiswenger, owner and co-founder of Abilities Unlimited in Colorado. Smithsonian Magazine (2/2014)
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Google Glass app allows physicians to evaluate wounds remotely
A Google Glass application called EyeSight, made by Austin, Texas-based Pristine, allows medical practitioners to stream video and audio of wounds to physicians who can determine if they need to see the patient in person. Slow-healing chronic wounds such as diabetic and venous ulcers are a promising market for the technology, this article says. The app, which has undergone testing at the University of California at Irvine, will soon be used at Wound Care Advantage outpatient clinics in Southern California. San Antonio Express-News/San Francisco Chronicle (2/10)
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Other News
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Medical News
Scientists create insulin-generating stem cells to treat type 1 diabetes
A study in the journal Cell Stem Cell details a method of creating insulin-producing cells that could be used to treat patients with type 1 diabetes. Researchers reprogrammed skin cells from mice as endoderm cells that matured into pancreas-like cells. (2/6)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Obama administration delays insurance mandate for medium firms to 2016
Employers with 50 to 99 workers will now have until 2016 to provide their employees with health insurance under new rules announced by the Treasury Department, which represent a two-year extension of the original deadline set forth in the Affordable Care Act. To avoid a fine in 2015, companies with 100 or more workers now need to offer coverage to 70% of full-time employees, instead of the 95% that was previously required. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (2/10)
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Trend Watch
Haitian toddler without developed limbs walks for first time
"Baby Charli," born 18 months ago in Haiti without fully developed arms and legs, has begun to use prosthetic arms and take his first steps on prosthetic legs, with adult help. Prosthetist-orthotist Doug Smiley of Virginia Prosthetics in Roanoke, Va., says the goal for Charli is to use his artificial limbs at roughly the same age that other toddlers are pulling themselves up and walking, this report says. ABC News (2/7)
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Business and Finance
O&P practitioners must meet business management challenges
O&P practitioners must learn to deal as effectively with such business issues as revenue, documentation and effective time allocation as they do treating patients, according to this article. For example, O&P facilities need to balance the scheduling of patients who need high- and lower-value devices to manage costs, and look for ways to standardize clinical documentation. AOPA provides valuable tools such as and Coding Pro, which has a prescription generation feature. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (2/2014)
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Should small firms keep offering health insurance?
Health care costs have climbed rapidly in recent years and some research suggests small businesses in particular have felt the brunt of rising premiums, Diana Ransom writes. Small firms are paying an average of $1,121 per individual employee in monthly premiums, according to a report from the National Small Business Association. Other research has yielded different results, but the point is "employers must ask whether they're doing their employees a disservice by offering health insurance -- particularly when they might access better coverage on their own through the new health-insurance exchanges," Ransom writes. Inc. online (free registration) (2/7)
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Breaking news from AOPA
Two important audio conferences are coming up. Tomorrow is AOPAversity's conference on Billing for Diabetic and Orthopedic Shoes, Mastectomy Services, and Surgical Dressings -- don't miss it! For those interested in learning more about the appropriated monies for outcomes research in O&P, register for the 2014 Research Funding Update today! Learn more about the distance learning opportunities that AOPA offers -- get your business credits today! NEOPS opens a new patient care facility -- all of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
Feb. 12: Billing for Diabetic & Orthopedic Shoes, Mastectomy Services, and Surgical Dressings (Telephone audio conference) Learn more or register online.
Feb. 20: 2014 Research Funding Update (Telephone audio conference) Learn more or register online
March 12: The ABC's of Audits: What to Expect and How to Respond (Telephone audio conference)
Learn more or register online.
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-- Rod McKuen,
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