Charities recycle prosthetic limbs for developing countries | Meeting the challenge of custom-designed O&P devices | Derma Sciences puts foot ulcer product through Phase III testing
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March 13, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Charities recycle prosthetic limbs for developing countries
By law, any part of a prosthetic device that touches the skin can't be reused in the U.S., but they can be recycled to other countries, where new prostheses are often unaffordable. The Tennessee charity Standing With Hope disassembles and ships donated prosthetic limbs to Ghana, where they are rebuilt for new recipients. Another charity, Limbs for Life, based in Oklahoma City, sends 500 to 700 artificial limbs a year, donated by individuals as well as prosthetic companies, to countries in Africa and Latin America. ABC News (3/12)
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Science and Technology
Meeting the challenge of custom-designed O&P devices
Patients with unique needs offer O&P practitioners the opportunity to develop innovative solutions. A well-known example is Ryan Blanck's Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis, which has allowed hundreds of soldiers and veterans to walk and run again and is now being offered to civilians. Prosthetist David Rotter, with Chicago-based Scheck & Siress, designed a unique system, using a caster from a swivel chair, which allowed a quadra-amputee to play golf again. And prosthetist Robert Kuenzi, at the Center for the Intrepid, designed a specialized prosthetic leg that incorporated a pylon with a socket and a Flex-Run foot so that a patient with hip disarticulation could compete in extreme “Tough Mudder” events. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (3/2014)
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Medical News
Derma Sciences puts foot ulcer product through Phase III testing
Derma Sciences' experimental product known as DSC127 is in late-stage clinical trials for treating diabetic foot ulcers. Results of the trials will not be known for 18 months, CEO Ed Quilty said. The company recently introduced AmnioMatrix, a placenta-derived scaffold for regenerating skin tissue over wounds. The Times (Trenton, N.J.) (3/9)
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Drop in vaccinations raises fears of polio among Syrian refugees
A suspected case of polio in a Syrian refugee child at a hospital in Lebanon highlights the degree to which Syria's health care system has become a victim of the civil war. Overall vaccination rates have dropped from 99% to 54%, although international medical teams are going tent to tent in the camps to vaccinate all refugees fleeing the conflict. NBC News (3/11)
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Legislative and Regulatory
ACA private plan enrollment tops 4 million, HHS says
About 4.2 million people had enrolled in a commercial health insurance plan as of March 1, and a surge of enrollees is expected before open enrollment ends March 31, HHS officials said. A quarter of recent enrollees are young adults, officials said. About 943,000 people enrolled in a plan in February. In January, there were 1.1 million enrollees, and there were 1.8 million in December. Reuters (3/11), HealthDay News (3/11), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (3/12)
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Trend Watch
Sinise Foundation funds home designed for triple amputee
A house designed specifically to accommodate a triple amputee is the latest goal of the Gary Sinise Foundation, which benefits U.S. veterans harmed in the line of duty. The home is for Army Staff Sgt. Rusty Dunagan of Edmond, Okla., who was wounded in Afghanistan. Dunagan's prostheses were designed by Scott Sabolich Prosthetics and Research in Oklahoma City, which received a visit recently by Sinise and Dunagan. Stars and Stripes/The Edmond Sun (Okla.) (3/11)
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Prosthetics give animals a second chance at life
animals with prosthetic limbs
(The Wall Street Journal/ Speakeasy blog/ PBS)
People's growing attachment to pets and new engineering solutions are elevating animal prosthetics to new levels. Advances in reproducing lost legs, fins, flippers, beaks and tails are enabling many injured animals to resume nearly normal lives, according to these articles. "My Bionic Pet," a new PBS series, will look at the topic in depth. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)/Speakeasy blog (3/11), York Daily Record (Pa.)/YorkBlog (3/1)
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Business and Finance
How profit-sharing could help your business
Profit-sharing arrangements can provide a significant boost to productivity and improve employee retention, writes Dave Clarke. In this article, Clarke goes over the different types of profit-sharing plans and lists some best-practice recommendations. If you choose to move ahead with profit-sharing, it's important to embrace transparency and to choose a plan that encourages the right sort of employee behavior, he writes. Intuit Small Business Blog (3/11)
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Breaking news from AOPA
Calling all students and residents: Gain national recognition and advance your career at the 2014 National Assembly with the Student-Resident Poster Award Honors! Sponsorship opportunities are available to make a difference with AOPA's 2014 Policy Forum -- sign up today! DME MACs retract article on provision of off-the-shelf and custom-fitted orthoses -- get the full story. The March issue of the O&P Almanac is online -- get your 2 Business CEs today! OPAF's First Row Clinic comes to D.C. this month for Limb Loss Education Day -- all of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
April 2 - 4:  2014 AOPA Policy Forum, Renaissance Hotel, Washington, D.C. Learn more or register online.
April 7 - 8:  Mastering Medicare: Essential Coding and Billing Seminar, Las Vegas Learn more or register online.
April 9:  How to Use Advanced Beneficiary Notices (ABNs) Effectively (Telephone audio conference) Learn more or register online.

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