VA issues rules for expanded health care access | DARPA head: Advances benefit civilians and soldiers | Study finds many people are unaware they have diabetes
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November 6, 2014
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AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

Top Story
VA issues rules for expanded health care access
The Department of Veterans Affairs issued interim final rules for the Veterans Choice Program, which is intended to increase access to health care. The proposal includes guidelines for covered services, eligibility, reimbursement rates and criteria for non-VA providers. Veterans who wish to see a non-VA provider must select a Medicare participant within a reasonable distance from their home who can offer qualified care. The public comment period on the rules is open until March 5. The Hill (11/4)
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Science and Technology
DARPA head: Advances benefit civilians and soldiers
In an interview, Arati Prabhakar, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, cites DARPA-funded research into brain-machine interfaces, mechanical prostheses and implantable neural electrodes as beneficial to civilians as well as those in the military. Engadget (11/5)
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Medical News
Study finds many people are unaware they have diabetes
A study in CMAJ Open of 11.5 million U.S. electronic medical records found that about 1.1 million patients had diabetes, with researchers estimating that 5.4% of them were unaware of their condition. Researchers found a higher proportion of undiagnosed diabetes in Arizona, North Dakota, Minnesota, South Carolina and Indiana. Using simple searches in electronic patient records may facilitate diabetes detection, researchers said. DailyRx.com (11/5)
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Study: Protein plays major role in glucose production, insulin sensitivity
Scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine have identified a protein, Sestrin 3, that helps regulate glucose production and insulin sensitivity in the liver. In tests with mice, those without the protein had higher fasting blood glucose levels. Researchers said they believe their work, published in the journal Diabetes, could lead to improved treatments for type 2 diabetes. Business Standard (India)/Asian News International (11/6)
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FDA policy aims to improve treatment of early-stage, high-risk breast cancer
The FDA has finalized a policy proposed in May 2012 to allow pathological complete response instead of disease-free survival as an endpoint for drugs aimed at treating high-risk, early-stage breast cancer. Though disease-free survival remains a primary goal, using it as an exclusive endpoint creates a gap of five to 10 years between the time a drug is approved for metastatic breast cancer and is subsequently approved for patients with earlier stages of the disease, write FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research officials Dr. Tatiana Prowell and Dr. Richard Pazdur. FDA Voice blog (11/4)
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Legislative and Regulatory
HealthCare.gov improved but not glitch-free
Consumers who use the federally run exchange to renew or change a health insurance plan for 2015 might experience some problems, and some who stopped paying for coverage might be re-enrolled automatically, industry sources said. Additionally, some consumers who are eligible for tax credits to help pay premiums might not receive a tax form they need if their address is incorrect in the federal database. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (11/4)
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Trend Watch
Dean Kamen to receive award for bionic arm advances
The Friars Club will present Dean Kamen with its Medical and Science Award for his work on bionic arms for wounded veterans. Kamen is one of a group to receive the first-ever awards given to those who help improve the lives of veterans and their families. The awards program will be held Jan. 6 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. USA Today (11/4)
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Other News
Business and Finance
O&P Enterprises purchased by Curbell Plastics
Illinois-based O&P Enterprises has been purchased by distributor Curbell Plastics, which is based in New York. O&P distributes orthotic and prosthetic fabrication materials, plastics, foams, supplies and equipment. PlasticsNews.com (11/4)
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AOPA News
Breaking news from AOPA
What do the election results mean for O&P? Read an analysis from AOPA Executive Director Tom Fise. HHS seeks input in addressing growing ALJ hearing requests and clearing backlog -- submit your comments. Jurisdiction D publishes results of the quarterly pre-payment review for L5980. Read the results here. CMS releases final rule on off-the-shelf orthotics and reverses course. Become a presenter at the 2015 AOPA National Assembly: Submit your paper today! All this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News!
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Upcoming events
Nov. 12: Gifts: Showing Appreciation without Violating the Law, webinar conference Learn more or register online.
Dec. 10: New Codes & Changes for 2015, webinar conference Learn more and register online.
Jan. 14: Fill In the Blanks: VA Contracting and the New Template, webinar conference Learn more or register online.
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SmartQuote
The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves."
-- Amelia Earhart,
American aviator
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