CMS solicits public comment on steps to cut DMEPOS fees | For more: | I-Limb Digits is part of next generation of prostheses to go mainstream
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March 4, 2014
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AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

Top Story
CMS solicits public comment on steps to cut DMEPOS fees
CMS has opened a public comment period for a new rule that could change the formula for reimbursements for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies, whether or not companies participate in competitive bidding. CMS is asking a series of questions in two areas: how pricing information from DMEPOS competitive bids should be implemented outside the bidding areas, and how to establish a competitive bidding policy that allows the use of bundled payments for certain types of DME. The comment period ends March 28. Health Industry Washington Watch blog (3/3)
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  • For more:
    For more information from AOPA, see page 4 of today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Science and Technology
I-Limb Digits is part of next generation of prostheses to go mainstream
Adrian Albrich, who lost his left hand in an industrial accident, is one of the first U.S. recipients of an advanced prosthetic hand, i-Limb Digits from Touch Bionics, which was fitted by Advanced Arm Dynamics in Portland, Ore. His artificial hand, with microprocessors, smartphone technology and carbon-fiber and silicon materials, is part of a growing wave of devices giving amputees a higher level of functionality. Digital Trends (3/3)
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Exoskeletons are on the rise
Researchers and companies are developing a wide range of robotic exoskeletons for medical, military and industrial uses. Robotic trousers produced by the Swiss firm Hocoma are designed to help stroke victims improve walking, and three companies -- Argo Medical Technologies, Cyberdyne and Ekso Bionics -- offer devices that enable paralyzed patients to walk upright. Power systems are crucial to the future of exoskeletons, according to Chris Melhuish, director of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. "The evolution of the exoskeleton will go hand in hand with the evolution of batteries or other high density storage systems as well as lightweight structural materials," he said. BBC (3/4)
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Medical News
Hand osteoarthritis pain eased with nighttime use of finger splints
Wearing finger splints at night reduced pain in 74% of 23 patients with hand osteoarthritis in a study by U.K. researchers at the University of Oxford. The beneficial results continued three months after patients stopped using the splints. The study was published in the journal Rheumatology. Medscape (free registration)/Reuters (3/3)
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German study: Poorer regions have higher diabetes, obesity rates
Living in socioeconomically disadvantaged regions may raise the odds of diabetes and obesity, according to an analysis of data from German Health Update surveys. Researchers found the frequency of type 2 diabetes and obesity was higher among people living in deprived communities than in areas defined as slightly deprived. Business Standard (India)/Asian News International (3/2)
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Gene mutation curbs diabetes risk in study
A study in Nature Genetics found people carrying just one copy of the mutated SLC30A8 gene had a 65% reduced odds of developing type 2 diabetes regardless of age and weight. Developing medications that mimic the gene's effect may help stave off diabetes, researchers noted. Bloomberg (3/3)
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Legislative and Regulatory
HHS extends ACA tax credits to plans bought outside exchanges
Some people who bought health insurance outside their state's Affordable Care Act exchange may be eligible for tax credits, according to an HHS website posting. People who tried to use their state's exchange but ended up buying a plan elsewhere because of technical issues could be eligible, the HHS statement said. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/The Associated Press (2/28)
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Trend Watch
Prosthetist donates specialized bicycling foot prosthesis
Below-knee amputee Sarah Holloway is being fitted for a prosthesis that will allow her to pedal a bicycle. Her prosthetist, David Sellers, created a specialized device with a solid flat foot and a flexible liner, and he provided the prosthesis free of charge. Holloway, who is visually impaired, will now be able to participate in a program that pairs blind and seeing riders on tandem bikes. WBIR-TV (Knoxville, Tenn.) (3/3)
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Business and Finance
Indego exoskeleton to enter clinical trials at 4 rehab centers
Four U.S. research institutions will soon be conducting clinical trials on the second-generation Indego exoskeleton developed by Parker Hannifin. The institutions, ranked among the top 10 rehab centers in the country, will work with Parker's lead rehabilitation facility, the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, in clinical tests. Parker Hannifin hopes to launch the orthotic device commercially in Europe in 2015 and in the United States the following year. Crain's Cleveland Business (3/4)
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AOPA News
Breaking news from AOPA
AOPA responds to the looming threat of post acute care bundling of O&P -- get the scoop on the latest threat to O&P Medicare reimbursements and see what actions AOPA is taking to proactively reduce this risk! Brush up on the latest OTS and competitive bidding updates while also getting the latest DME MAC guidance for split code orthoses -- don't miss this important coding and reimbursement news! The AOPA Policy Forum is just around the bend -- register today! The Amputee Coalition delivers a new BMI calculator tool resource -- all of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
March 12: The ABC's of Audits: What to Expect and How to Respond (Telephone audio conference)
Learn more or register online.
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.
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SmartQuote
The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star."
-- Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin,
French lawyer and epicure
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