Volunteer O&P professionals make a difference in Mexico | Implantable motion sensor may guide prosthetic limbs | Training helps doctors from developing nations treat wounds
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September 17, 2013
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Volunteer O&P professionals make a difference in Mexico
Several O&P professionals from the U.S. are making weeklong medical mission trips to Mexico's Center for the Full Rehabilitation of the Disabled with Devices for Walking, a nonprofit orthotic and prosthetic center. Over the past 27 years, 75 prosthetists have volunteered at the center and helped more than 2,500 patients receive prostheses. "The patients come in with great hopes and no prosthesis, and they leave with a prosthesis, and down there it makes a difference between being able to make a living or not being able to take care of their families," said Jeff Lutz of the Hanger Clinic in Lafayette, La. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (9/2013)
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Implantable motion sensor may guide prosthetic limbs
An implantable device that mimics the motion sensors in smartphones may one day provide key input to control prosthetic devices. The thin, flexible sensor, developed by researchers at Tel Aviv University, uses a non-toxic polymer in place of silicon and is about the height and width of a postage stamp. "If the printing processes really do allow for mass production of polymer devices, then we will be looking at the possibility of devices so cheap that they can even be disposable," said Leeya Engel, one of the Tel Aviv University researchers. Mashable (9/13)
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Medical News
Training helps doctors from developing nations treat wounds
A course at San Francisco General Hospital teaches surgical and wound care techniques to surgeons from 17 nations. Chief of Plastic Surgery Dr. Scott Hansen showed how to move skin from the thigh to the hip to treat pressure ulcers. Wounds from wrecks, blasts, gunshots and other injuries result in millions of deaths each year in developing nations. A lack of resources means infection can set in before people reach the hospital, resulting in amputations. San Francisco Chronicle (free content) (9/11)
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Areas with more green space show lower diabetes rates
A study in Diabetes Care found the rate of type 2 diabetes was 9.1% among people who live in areas with 20% or less green space, compared with 8% for those whose communities have at least 40% green space. "Promoting access to nature is an important preventive health tool for addressing the type 2 diabetes epidemic, regardless of a person's economic circumstances," researchers noted. MedPage Today (free registration) (9/13)
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Legislative and Regulatory
OIG says states could save millions with competitive bidding
States that use Medicare competitive bidding payment amounts in Medicaid reimbursement for DMEPOS could save money, according to an OIG report showing that Texas could have saved about $2 million in 2011 using Medicare competitive bidding rates. According to this article, at least one state does not support this idea, and the OIG report did not include state reactions. Health Industry Washington Watch blog (9/16)
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ACA's rate reviews cut premiums by $1.2B, HHS says
HHS reported Thursday that Affordable Care Act provisions that increased state and federal scrutiny of insurance premiums helped reduce rates by $1.2 billion since 2011. The health care law authorized the federal government to review some rate increases and provided states with grants worth $250 million to strengthen their review of premiums. "Thanks to the health care law, we are seeing that holding insurance companies accountable is leading to increased competition and saving billions of dollars for consumers across the country," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The Hill/Healthwatch blog (9/12), Modern Healthcare (subscription required) (9/12)
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Undecided states resume consideration of Medicaid expansion
Leaders in Indiana and Oklahoma struck deals with CMS to continue running low-income health programs while they consider Medicaid expansion, Ohio and Montana might put the question to voters, and Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, along with Ohio, could pass expansion legislation before the end of the legislative session. A decision in Virginia may depend on the gubernatorial election results, the governor of Tennessee is negotiating a possible compromise with the Obama administration, and the governors of Idaho, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming have hinted they will reconsider expansion next year. Politico (Washington, D.C.) (9/12)
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Featured Content
Trend Watch
Boston bombing amputees face lifetime prosthesis costs
Amputees who lost limbs after the Boston Marathon bombing, including brothers J.P. and Paul Norden, have received donations topping $1 million from the One Fund charity, but face future challenges the money might not fully cover. For the Nordens, who have continuing health issues on top of their amputations, the donations will force them off of a health insurance program for the poor, and they face payments for their own insurance and for costly prostheses that have to be maintained and replaced every few years. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (9/15)
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Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team plays at Nationals Park
The Washington Nationals baseball team hosted the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., on Sunday for a game that included actors, broadcasters and an Olympian, as well as wives and coaches from the Nationals team. For the first time, the WWAST split up and played on teams with the celebrities, who included actors Brian Dietzen from "NCIS" and Sakina Jaffrey from "House of Cards." USA Today (9/16)
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Breaking news from AOPA
Study: Medicare scandal continues with a significant percentage of payments for orthotic and prosthetic devices going illegally to unlicensed providers. CMS payments to unlicensed providers violate 2000 and 2005 laws; regulatory “overkill” by agency adds insult to injury by tying up legitimate industry in red tape. Read more.
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