Hospitals file suit over Medicare appeal delays | Designer offers kits online for 3D-printed prosthetic hand | Scientists find source of phantom pain in nerves, not brain
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May 29, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Hospitals file suit over Medicare appeal delays
Several hospitals have joined the American Hospital Association in suing HHS over lengthy delays in Medicare-payment appeals caused by the post-payment review process known as recovery auditing. The recovery-audit companies claim their efforts have saved Medicare billions, but the program has caused a huge increase in appeals to HHS administrative courts. "Part of our argument is that these delays are creating significant financial difficulties for facilities," said Lawrence Hughes, AHA assistant general counsel. Modern Healthcare (subscription required) (5/23)
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Designer offers kits online for 3D-printed prosthetic hand
Jeremy Simon, who designed the open-source "Cyborg Beast" hand, is offering low-cost kits through his website for constructing the 3D-printed prosthetic device. Purchasers must have access to a 3D printer, but the kits include all the other parts needed to complete the device. Simon plans to add kits for other hand models as well. (5/27)
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Medical News
Scientists find source of phantom pain in nerves, not brain
Israeli and Albanian researchers have found that nerves near the spine are the source of phantom limb pain suffered by as many as 10 million amputees worldwide. Scientists injected a local anesthetic near the spot where the nerves from subjects' amputated legs entered the spinal cord in the lower back, which caused a reduction or elimination of pain. Researchers say the study, which was published in the journal Pain, proves that phantom pain originates in the nervous system at or below the spine and not the brain as previously thought. Ha'aretz (Tel Aviv, Israel) (5/28)
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Researchers: Laser therapy could be used to regenerate tissue
Citing a study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine that used laser therapy to regenerate dental tissue, scientists hope the technique can find broader application. "I think it's very relevant directly in a variety of different tissues that require stimulation and activation of healing and repair -- such as chronic foot ulcers in diabetic patients, bone healing and bone regeneration," said Jonathan Garlick, director of the Center for Integrated Tissue Engineering at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (5/28)
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Hyperbaric treatments plus debridement and a total contact cast heal diabetic wounds
James Leonard describes his treatment for Charcot syndrome at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital's Center for Wound Healing, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary. Leonard received two rounds of 30 hyperbaric oxygen treatments, multiple debridements and a total contact cast. He also received counseling from the Vermont center's diabetes program staff, dietary advice and assistance applying for insurance and affordable housing near the center. Brattleboro Reformer (Vt.) (5/23)
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Other News
Legislative and Regulatory
CMS needs a better post-payment review system, GAO says
A Government Accountability Office report said that the government should create a more uniform and unified system for post-payment reviews of Medicare claims. Despite integrating its payment processing system with a predictive analytics program to detect possibly fraudulent claims, CMS is still unable to stop payments of those claims, said the report. It also has not addressed differences in how contractors conduct reviews, according to the GAO. McKnight's Long-Term Care News (5/23)
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Business and Finance
Hanger to open specialty center focusing on IDEO
A new facility in Gig Harbor, Wash., will house a Hanger orthotics and prosthetics specialty center led by Ryan Blanck, who developed the Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis. Blanck fits patients from all over the world with the device. "I specifically wanted a place where it was serene and calm for patients who had been through trauma," he said. The Peninsula Gateway (Gig Harbor, Wash.) (5/28)
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Breaking news from AOPA
AOPA’s leadership offers a look ahead on CMS’ prior authorization proposal -- get the latest news on this hot topic! AOPA is collecting video footage to create a public relations campaign promoting the Dobson-DaVanzo cost-effectiveness study. O&P saves lives and money -- submit your patient care footage to AOPA ASAP! Registration for the 2014 AOPA Assembly is OPEN --10 reasons to attend and why you should register today! The FDA is holding a free public workshop on 3D printing and additive manufacturing of medical devices. Don’t miss it! Register in advance -- all of this and more in today’s AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
June 11: The Self Audit: A Useful Tool, 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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