Yale student startup gets funding for scoliosis brace tracking device | Mich. company moves forward with implantable cushioning device | Brain-wave technology allows users to control prosthetic limbs
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November 20, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Yale student startup gets funding for scoliosis brace tracking device
Yale students who are part of startup company 109 Design received $100,000 in funding from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute to proceed with development of a scoliosis brace tracking device. The device provides real-time tracking of brace tightness and wear times, which could help patients wear braces longer. BeckersSpine.com (11/19)
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Science and Technology
Mich. company moves forward with implantable cushioning device
Michigan-based Advanced Amputee Solutions is using its partnership with Quantum Medical Concepts and a $100,000 investment to move ahead with launching its Cushioning Implantable End Pad for amputees wearing artificial limbs. The polymer-based device is implanted during the amputation surgery to help eliminate discomfort in the prosthetic socket. Michipreneur (Michigan) (11/18)
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Brain-wave technology allows users to control prosthetic limbs
Technology developed by Duke University neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis is moving closer to allowing prosthesis wearers to control their prosthetic limbs using brain waves. Although early brain research experimented with implanted electrodes that were attached to a computer, scientists are working to develop wireless connections. PopularMechanics.com (11/19)
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Prosthetic limb features pressurized vacuum pump, redesigned socket
Limb Lab of Rochester, Minn., has created a prosthetic leg that employs a pressurized vacuum pump. The prosthesis is helping Army Capt. Matt Bacik, who lost his leg in Iraq, move his prosthetic foot with accuracy. The prosthesis also uses Environmentally Managed Systems' flexible inner socket that helps alleviate pressure and stress on muscles and joints. KTTC-TV (Rochester, Minn.) (11/19)
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Medical News
FDA gives go-ahead for Fibrocell's IND to treat residual limbs
The FDA has approved Fibrocell Science's investigational new drug application aimed at treating residual limb skin issues, which often lead to prostheses being abandoned by the wearers. Fibrocell is working to achieve the same skin properties on residual limbs that are on palms and soles. Pharmaceutical Business Review Online (11/19)
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More women with early-stage breast cancer choosing double mastectomies
The number of women with early-stage breast cancer who are choosing to have double mastectomies rather than less-invasive surgery is on the rise, says a Vanderbilt University study that looked at the records of 1.2 million women between 1998 and 2011. Double mastectomies rose from 2% to 11% during the period. Those having just the affected breast removed rose from 34% to 38%, the study says. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (11/19)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Heavy traffic leaves HealthCare.gov visitors lined up
More than 1 million people visited the federally run health insurance exchange on the first weekend of open enrollment for 2015 plans, the Obama administration said. But some customers with established accounts on HealthCare.gov were unable to open their accounts Monday amid heavy traffic and technical problems. Some messages directed customers to wait and others suggested trying again later. Yahoo/The Associated Press (11/17)
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Employers, insurers get extra time to report enrollee totals
The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight has extended the deadline for yearly submissions of insurance companies' and employers' enrollment totals for the Affordable Care Act reinsurance program. The due date, which was Nov. 15,  is now Dec. 5. National Underwriter Life & Health (11/17)
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Other News
Business and Finance
Small firms consider self-insurance to control health care costs
Large businesses have embraced self-insurance in recent years, and now the trend is starting to take hold with small-business owners, who are looking to reduce health care costs and increase transparency. Employers that self-insure typically get stop-loss coverage to help protect themselves, but handling large claims can still be costly. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (11/17)
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Breaking news from AOPA
AOPA's concerns have been included in the House Ways and Means Committee draft bill addressing Medicare fraud, RACs and ALJ delays. Read how this affects O&P. Bilateral amputee Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., was denied a proxy vote during her pregnancy. The Amputee Coalition and the Academy partner to offer consumer brochures. Prosthetists: Help UTSA engineering students design a prosthetic foot by completing a survey. Register for AOPA's Mastering Medicare: Essential Coding and Billing Seminars in 2015! Get the details inside. Call for Papers: Become a presenter at the 2015 AOPA National Assembly. And exhibit space is now available! Register for the Dec. 10 AOPA webinar on the new codes for 2015. All this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News!
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Jan. 14: Fill In the Blanks: VA Contracting and the New Template, webinar conference Learn more or register online.
Feb. 9-10: Mastering Medicare: Essential Coding & Billing Seminar, Savannah, Ga. Learn more and register online.
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