S.C. man receives advanced ankle-foot prosthesis | Remote-controlled implant could replace insulin injections | Scientists plan brain implant to activate paralyzed arm and hand
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January 16, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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S.C. man receives advanced ankle-foot prosthesis
After losing his left leg below the knee in a workplace accident, James Jackson of Greenville, S.C., received a computerized prosthesis from Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics initially developed by the Biomechatronics Group at MIT for soldiers wounded in combat. The BiOM, constructed of aluminum and carbon fibers, uses a microprocessor to normalize gait and features a vacuum-assisted suspension to reduce friction between the socket and limb. "It's the only powered ankle-foot system that replicates the calf muscle," said Ability prosthetist Brian Kaluf. The Greenville News (S.C.) (tiered subscription model) (1/15)
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Remote-controlled implant could replace insulin injections
Using sound waves from a device similar to a TV remote, people with diabetes could avoid daily injections by activating an implant beneath the skin that releases an insulin dose into the bloodstream, this article says. The implant, which has been tested on mice, is the size of a mobile phone SIM card. It is coated in electrically charged nanoparticles that each contain a small amount of insulin. Sound waves from the remote cause the particles to vibrate, releasing the insulin. A study in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials found that the implant lasted for 10 days. The Daily Mail (London) (1/14)
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Scientists plan brain implant to activate paralyzed arm and hand
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are preparing for ground-breaking surgery that would employ a brain-computer interface, together with functional electrical stimulation, that would activate as many as 18 muscles in a patient’s paralyzed arm and hand. The procedure, which could occur by next year, uses a small probe that will be implanted into the brain’s motor cortex. MIT Technology Review online (1/14)
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Medical News
Women can lower diabetes risk with muscle-strengthening exercises, data show
Data on 99,316 middle-aged and older women that showed those who engaged in muscle-strengthening and conditioning activities had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with their sedentary counterparts. The results were published in PLOS Medicine. Healio (free registration)/Endocrine Today (1/14)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Hospital group protests decision to suspend RAC appeals
The government's plan to suspend appeals of decisions by Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors is both unacceptable and illegal, the American Hospital Association wrote in a letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. CMS contends the two-year suspension is necessary to clear a backlog of 357,000 cases, but the association says that excessive and inappropriate RAC denials are the chief cause, with hospitals winning appeals in more than 70% of inpatient denials. The American Coalition for Healthcare Claims Integrity argues that RACs have an accuracy rate above 95%. Health Data Management (1/15)
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  • For more:
    View the chronology of AOPA actions related to RAC audits, other audits and prepayment reviews.
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HHS pushes back end date for pre-existing conditions plan
The White House is again allowing more time for people in the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan to get new insurance under the Affordable Care Act, moving the deadline from Jan. 31 to March 15. "As part of our continuing effort to help smooth consumers' transition into Marketplace coverage, we are allowing those covered by PCIP additional time to shop for new coverage while they receive the ongoing care and treatment they need," HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said. Fewer than 30,000 people are covered by the program, an HHS official said. The Hill/Healthwatch blog (1/14)
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ONC unveils documents to promote safe adoption of EHRs
A series of nine documents, called the SAFER Guides, has been released by the ONC to guide health care groups in the safe adoption of EHR and other health IT products in different topic areas, such as computerized physician order entry with decision support, patient identification and clinician communication. Included in the documents are recommended practices for organizations, practice worksheets and self-assessment checklists. Health Data Management (1/15)
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Business and Finance
N.Y. company specializes in devices for adaptive athletes
Mountain Orthotics & Prosthetic Services, with facilities in Lake Placid and Plattsburgh, N.Y., provides adaptive sports equipment for athletes of all ages, whether they are pursing sports as a hobby or competing in the Paralympic Games. Owner Jeff Erenstone has designed hockey skates for below-knee amputees, an artificial foot for rock climbing, and more. The Burgh (Elizabethtown, N.Y.) (1/15)
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How to find the right solution to handle your taxes
Finding the right automated tax solution can be an immense help to small-business owners who already have enough to worry about. Look for solutions that can handle all relevant tax jurisdictions and that update automatically as adjustments are made to the law, advises Jonathan Barsade, CEO of Exactor. BusinessNewsDaily.com (1/14)
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Breaking news from AOPA
AOPA's first 2014 Coding & Billing Seminar is going to New Orleans this February. Get the latest information on medical policies, documentation and compliance -- register your staff today! Don't miss out on your opportunity to exhibit at "The Place to Be" -- the AOPA 2014 Las Vegas Assembly. PECOS enforcement is in effect -- read the announcement here! Please take a note of the Amputee Coalition's Limb Loss Education Day coming up and congratulate new NAAOP Board member Rebecca Hast -- all of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
Feb. 10-11: Mastering Medicare: Essential Coding and Billing Techniques Seminar, New Orleans
Learn more or register online.
Feb. 12:
Billing for Diabetic & Orthopedic Shoes, Mastectomy Services, and Surgical Dressings (Telephone audio conference) Learn more or register online.
March 12: The ABC's of Audits: What to Expect and How to Respond (Telephone audio conference)
Learn more or register online.
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