Bipartisan House proposal would reform Medicare DMEPOS bidding | For more: | Brain implant allows paralyzed man to move hand with thoughts
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June 24, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Bipartisan House proposal would reform Medicare DMEPOS bidding
Reps. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, and John Larson, D-Conn., have proposed reforms for DMEPOS acquisition under Medicare that would make the bids binding and impose a fine if a supplier does not accept a contract. Suppliers would also be required to post a surety bond. Tiberi said the current process is flawed and "encourages low-ball bidding and will lead to market failure." The Ripon Advance (6/23)
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  • For more:
    Read an update from AOPA about competitive bidding and the possibility of off-the-shelf orthoses being included in future rounds.
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Science and Technology
Brain implant allows paralyzed man to move hand with thoughts
Using technology developed by the Battelle research organization, physicians and scientists at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center implanted a chip in the brain of Ian Burkhart that has allowed him to move his hand for the first time since he was paralyzed four years ago. The Neurobridge system connects the chip to a computer that uses an algorithm to translate Burkhart's thoughts into muscle movement through electrodes wrapped like a sleeve around his arm. "You really have to zone everything else out and focus on that movement," Burkhart said. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (6/24)
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Ohio researchers explore touch in prosthetic hand
Scientists at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio are working to restore touch sensation by using sensors attached to a prosthetic hand. The electronic impulses from the hand sensors are routed through computer algorithms to nerves that transmit signals to the brain. The system has enabled amputee Igor Spetic to detect physical pressure on his prosthetic hand and handle items as delicate as cherries and grapes. (6/23)
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Prosthetic advances are revolutionizing what is possible
From blade runners and exoskeletons to thought-controlled artificial limbs, the rapid progress in prosthetic technology is opening unprecedented opportunities for amputees and people with disabilities, according to this overview article. Among the latest developments: so-called morphing prostheses that can change shape and touch-sensitive artificial hands. Las Vegas Sun (6/22)
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Israel to launch 3D printing competition to help patients with disabilities
Teams of engineers, occupational therapists, industrial designers, artists and others from around the world will participate in a competition in Nazareth, Israel, to solve a series of challenges faced by individuals with disabilities using 3D printing and other digital technologies. The 72-hour "Tikkun Olam Make-a-thon" will tackle such challenges as creating a pediatric prosthetic hand and constructing a device to control a robotic hand using brain signals. (6/23)
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Calif. high school wins prosthetic-arm engineering competition
A team from Stagg High School in Stockton, Calif., won the MESA USA Engineering Design Challenge at Portland State University in Oregon, which this year focused on designing a functional prosthetic arm from common materials at a cost of less than $40. Among other tasks, the arm had to be able to screw bolts into wood and toss balls into a basket. Stagg's entry was built of bamboo, PVC pipe, rubber bands and miscellaneous other items. The Oregonian (Portland) (6/21), The Record (Stockton, Calif.) (tiered subscription model) (6/24)
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Medical News
Study confirms team approach for treating diabetic foot
Two studies presented at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions in San Francisco confirmed that a uniform, team-based multidisciplinary program can reduce amputations and mortality for persons suffering from diabetic foot wounds. The 10-year review at the Denver Health Medical Center found that a comprehensive limb-salvage program reduced amputations dramatically. The U.S. National Diabetic Foot Registry, which will track what approaches do and do not work, will launch this year. Medscape (free registration) (6/20)
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Stem cell therapy boosts type 2 diabetes outcomes
Type 2 diabetes patients who were treated with infusions of Mesoblast's mesenchymal precursor cells had greater reductions in blood sugar levels than those who received a placebo, according to a study presented at the ADA 74th Scientific Sessions. The 61-patient midstage trial found that the cells were well-tolerated and that treatment was associated with a dose-dependent improvement in glycemic control. Australian Life Scientist (6/19)
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Legislative and Regulatory
CMS discusses prior authorization rules
The CMS held an open forum last week to review rules it introduced in May for prior authorization covering certain types of durable medical equipment. Officials said the new PA rules do not require a special form and that it was unlikely that prior authorizations would be subject to audits. Comments on the new rule may be submitted to the CMS until July 28. HME News (6/20)
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Breaking news from AOPA
The Pennsylvania O&P Society received an update on CR8730 from the CMS -- get the latest! AOPA participates in the CMS Open Door Forum call regarding the prior authorization proposed rule -- learn what AOPA has to say! Energy Levels exceeding over 32 Manufacturers' Workshops and 16 Product Preview Performances at the 2014 Assembly -- get your CEs! It's not too late to exhibit in Las Vegas at the place to be, the 2014 National Assembly -- sign up to exhibit today! OPAF's Wheelchair Clinics across the Carolinas are a major success -- all of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
July 9: The OIG: Who Are They and Why Are They Important?  Webinar conference  Learn more or register online.
Aug. 13: AFO/KAFO Policy: Understanding the Rules, Webinar conference  Learn more or register online.
Sept. 4-7: AOPA 2014 National Assembly, Las Vegas, Nev. Learn more.
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