English engineer develops inexpensive robotic hand | Flexible conductive material has prosthetic potential | Experimental drug leads to better blood fat levels in diabetes patients
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September 5, 2013
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News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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English engineer develops inexpensive robotic hand
Using less-expensive materials and 3D printing technology, engineer Joel Gibbard has developed the fully functional Dextrus robotic hand at a cost of roughly $1,100, which is significantly less than comparable computer-hand prostheses. Gibbard, based in the U.K., is using a crowdsourcing initiative to fund the project, dubbed the Open Hand Project. TechCrunch (9/5)
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Science and Technology
Flexible conductive material has prosthetic potential
Harvard University researchers have created a new gelatinous material consisting of a rubbery tape sandwiched between layers of salty gel, which expands and contracts when voltage is switched on and off. The material has potential applications for flexible prosthetic limbs or soft robotic devices. Physics Today online (9/4)
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Medical News
Experimental drug leads to better blood fat levels in diabetes patients
Type 2 diabetes patients who received the highest doses of an experimental injectable drug called LY attained significant reductions in bad cholesterol and triglyceride rates and increased good cholesterol levels compared with those who received placebo shots, according to a small study in Cell Metabolism. Researchers said the drug, a copy of the fibroblast growth factor 21 hormone, appears to inhibit obesity and improve insulin action. U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News (9/3)
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Legislative and Regulatory
OIG: Medicare audit program more accurate than perceived
With an appeal rate of only 6.%, Medicare's recovery audit program is more accurate than critics say, but it is not perfect and detects too little fraud, according to a recent report from the HHS Office of the Inspector General. A representative of the American Hospital Association said that appeal rates are not the best measure of recovery audit contractors' accuracy because many providers don't have time or resources to dispute payments. Modern Healthcare (subscription required) (9/4), McKnight's Long-Term Care News (9/5)
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What health care providers need to know about insurance exchanges
CMS has issued a list of 10 key facts that all health care providers need to know about the new health insurance exchanges that will begin operating in October. The list includes that exchanges, whether operated by state or federal government, provide a new way to shop and compare private plans in terms of cost and benefits. Also, most plans provide a full range of basic services with stand-alone dental and catastrophic coverage, and plans are divided into bronze, silver, gold and platinum categories based on percentage of costs covered. Clinical Innovation + Technology online (9/4)
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Trend Watch
Hungarian pubs feature foosball figures with disabilities
To raise awareness, Suhanj, a Hungarian organization representing people with disabilities, teamed with an advertising agency to place table soccer games that include several figures in wheelchairs and with limited sight and prosthetic limbs in Budapest pubs. The "integrated" games have been played by able-bodied and disabled participants at Suhanj-sponsored events. The Huffington Post (9/3)
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Boston Marathon amputee wears special high heels
Heather Abbott, who lost a leg in the Boston Marathon bombing, can now wear a special prosthetic leg made of a state-of-the-art silicone cover that allows her to wear high-heeled shoes. "I want it to look as much like my own leg," she said. WDAF-TV (Kansas City, Mo.) (9/3)
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Business and Finance
Read the fine print before selecting a credit card service provider
Credit card service providers' upfront rates, fees and services for small businesses might seem alluring, but it pays to beware, Chad Brooks writes. The small print in their agreements might prove a great deal more costly. For this reason, it's critical to do your research before settling on a provider, according to Phillip Parker of CardPaymentOptions.com. "If the company has unfavorable contract provisions or business practices, other merchants will have filed public complaints," he said. BusinessNewsDaily.com (9/4)
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AOPA News
Breaking news from AOPA
AOPA's notice of ABM elections! For all AOPA voting members, please be on the lookout: e-mail notices have been sent. Vote today! The Office of the Inspector General released a report providing criticism of CMS regarding RAC Activities. Read all about it! Scheck & Siress is growing its resources with new staff. Congratulations! The AOPA World Congress will feature an impressive amount of regulatory education on Friday including a Mock Audit session where you can bring a patient file. On Saturday at the World Congress, OPAF and the Amputee Coalition will be hosting Limb Loss Education Day. Don't miss it! All of this in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
Sept. 11: Read Between the Lines: The Medicare Lower Limb Prosthetic Policy (Telephone audio conference)
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Sept. 18-21: AOPA O&P World Congress, Orlando, Fla.
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Oct. 22-23: Mastering Medicare: Advanced Coding and Billing Techniques, Las Vegas
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SmartQuote
Expect people to be better than they are; it helps them to become better. But don't be disappointed when they are not; it helps them to keep trying."
-- Merry Browne,
writer
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