Medicare has lost billions to fraud, HHS tells House subcommittee | For more: | Ohio team implants brain chip to move paralyzed limb
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May 1, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Medicare has lost billions to fraud, HHS tells House subcommittee
Medicare and Medicare Advantage lost about $50 billion combined in wrong or fraudulent payments in 2013, according to testimony before a House subcommittee by HHS Deputy Inspector General Gloria Jarmon. Improper payments constituted 10% of all payments, up from 8.5% the previous year. A separate Government Accountability Office report cited improved monitoring and collections efforts, but said the CMS must better identify the underlying causes of fraud through post-payment reviews. USA Today (4/30)
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  • For more:
    Read the statement AOPA delivered to the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Wednesday that outlined ways to prevent fraud in the provision of O&P services through Medicare and discussed how legitimate providers are hurt through RAC audits and appeals backlogs.
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Science and Technology
Ohio team implants brain chip to move paralyzed limb
In a critical first step toward mind-body control, a medical and engineering team at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center implanted a computer chip into the brain of a man paralyzed from the chest down. A computer algorithm will decode the brain's messages and transmit them to a sleeve containing 160 electrodes on the patient's arm. Scientists hope the system, called the Neurobridge, will help people who are paralyzed, stroke victims and others with limited motor function. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/29)
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3D scanning creates cranial helmet design for plagiocephaly
When Kristita Burkett, who works for Hanger in Florida, found that one of her twins suffered from moderate plagiocephaly, she turned to the clinicians she works with for help. Orthotist Carolyn Wery used 3D scanning technology, instead of the older method of plaster casts, to custom-design a cranial helmet that the infant wore for five months. The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville) (4/30)
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Medical News
Study: Human amniotic membrane aids diabetic wound healing
A randomized study of 40 patients found that 92.5% of diabetic foot ulcers healed during a 12-week period when treated with dehydrated human amniotic membrane allografts, according to a presentation at the spring Symposium on Advanced Wound Care/Wound Healing Society. Wounds treated weekly healed twice as fast as those receiving biweekly applications. Medical News Today (5/1)
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Rotationplasty allows teens to regain active lifestyle
The surgical procedure known as rotationplasty, combined with lower-limb prostheses, is allowing three Canadian teenagers to remain active after suffering from osteoscarcoma, the most common pediatric bone cancer. The procedure entails above-knee amputation to remove the tumor, then rotating and reattaching the leg so that the ankle functions as the new knee, with the foot facing backward. The foot can then slip into a lower-limb prosthesis. The Toronto Star (4/30)
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Pig bladder tissue used to regrow leg muscles
An extracellular matrix created from chemically treated pig bladders, sewn into the injured legs of five patients, successfully triggered new muscle growth by stimulating patients' own stem cells. Several patients who received the treatment had considered amputation. The experiment, conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, appeared in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (4/30)
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Trend Watch
O&P facility aids military amputees from Republic of Georgia
San Diego-based Peter Harsch Prosthetics is providing the advanced X-3 prosthetic leg to more than a dozen amputee soldiers from the Republic of Georgia. The soldiers served with coalition forces in Afghanistan or fought in the 2008 conflict against Russia. KNSD-TV (San Diego) (4/29)
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Business and Finance
Company uses 3D printing for orthotic insoles
3D printing expert Kegan Schouwenburg has founded SOLS, which designs custom orthotic insoles using 3D scanning technology. The company just received $6.4 million in a financing round. By next year, Schouwenburg hopes to create an application that anyone can use to take a smartphone picture of their feet and send off directly for custom insoles. Entrepreneur online (4/30)
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Other News
Breaking news from AOPA
AOPA delivers a statement to the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in the Medicare Program -- get the latest from AOPA! It's almost time to participate in the Annual Operating Performance Survey -- be on the lookout for your survey soon! AOPA's next Coding & Billing Seminar is in Boston, Mass. Get your lineup of practitioners and office staff ready to hit the proverbial home run with advanced coding & billing techniques -- it's out of the park! Ottobock announces a key finance promotion to Kathy Schuerman -- all of this and more in today's AOPA breaking news.
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Upcoming events
May 14:  Modifiers: How & When to Use Them (Telephone audio conference) Learn more or register online.
June 12-13: Mastering Medicare: Coding & Billing Seminar, Boston, Mass. Learn more or register online.
Sept. 4-7: AOPA 2014 National Assembly, Las Vegas, Nev. Learn more.
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