CMS establishes Medicare review coordinator | Company tests 3D-printed brace for scoliosis | Study links sleep apnea to higher diabetes risk
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June 10, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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CMS establishes Medicare review coordinator
The CMS has hired a provider relations coordinator to boost transparency in Medicare medical reviews and render more efficient resolutions to clinicians affected by the evaluations. "Although providers should continue to take questions about specific claims directly to the Recovery Auditor or Medicare Administrative Contractor who conducted the review, providers can raise larger process issues to the coordinator," the agency said. AHA News Now (6/5)
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Science and Technology
Company tests 3D-printed brace for scoliosis
3D Systems successfully tested its new Bespoke scoliosis brace on 22 patients at Children's Hospital of Oakland, Calif. The thin, flexible orthosis is customized for each individual through a 3D printing process. The company worked with orthotist Robert Jensen in the pilot study. Dr. James Policy of Stanford University, who also helped test the brace, said, "[C]ommon sense dictates that if the children ... are more comfortable wearing the devices, we will see higher compliance and greater success." (6/9)
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Medical News
Study links sleep apnea to higher diabetes risk
A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that people with sleep apnea had increased odds of developing diabetes compared with those who did not have the sleep disorder. The risk of developing diabetes increased with the severity of sleep apnea, data from more than 8,600 patients showed. HealthDay News (6/6)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Burwell takes over as HHS secretary
The Senate on Thursday confirmed Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace Kathleen Sebelius as HHS secretary by a vote of 78-17. Sebelius officially turned over her duties to Burwell on Monday. "Sylvia is a proven manager who knows how to deliver results, and over her career she has built deep relationships with Democrats and Republicans alike," President Barack Obama said in a statement. The Hill (6/9), The Hill/Floor Action blog (6/5), National Public Radio/The Two-Way blog (6/5)
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New Medicare rules establish risk categories
Medicare has established limited-, moderate- and high-risk categories for DMEPOS suppliers as part of its new enrollment process in a continuing effort to combat fraud and abuse. This article outlines the requirements for each category, noting that all new enrollees, even those just adding a new branch, are in the high-risk category, which mandates fingerprinting and background checks. Current Medicare providers who joined the program before March 25, 2011, must re-enroll through the new screening process no later than March 23, 2015, according to this article. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (6/2014)
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ONC releases plan for interoperable health IT infrastructure in 10 years
A paper outlining a 10-year plan to achieve a national infrastructure for interoperable health IT was released by the ONC on Thursday with an invitation for stakeholder input. National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo said the initiative, which the ONC foresees as a system of interoperable health products and services that will help health care continually learn and advance, will require a coordinated effort between the federal government, the private sector, and state, local and tribal governments. The ONC is focusing on five critical components, including core standards, certification, privacy protection, a supportive business climate and shared rules of engagement. Health Data Management (6/6)
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Trend Watch
Wounded Warriors sponsor amputee softball camp for children
After connecting with the Wounded Warriors organization through Shoals Orthotics & Prosthetics in Florence, Ala., Jace Ethridge will be one of 20 children taking part in the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team's second annual Kids Camp being held in Louisville, Ky. "[I]t's our mission to show people that life-altering doesn't have to mean life-ending," said WWAST Coach David Van Sleet. "It's still possible to follow your passions after an injury. You just have to take a different approach." The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.) (tiered subscription model) (6/10)
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Amputees train for their own World Cup
Members of the amputee soccer team Aztec Warriors in Mexico City are training hard to qualify for the Mexican national team that will compete in the Amputee Soccer World Cup. The competition will be held in the Mexican city of Culiacan, Sinaloa, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 8. "We want to show that there are no barriers or limitations to attaining what one desires," said Aztec Warriors coach Carlos Espinosa. The Monterey County Herald (Calif.)/The Associated Press (6/7)
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Business and Finance
Study: O&P firms have opportunities to cut cost, raise revenues
A cooperative study among four O&P facilities last year found that, with rigorous evaluation of processes and expenses, companies can increase efficiency and reduce costs, contributing to a stronger bottom line. These steps include ensuring accurate documentation, matching staff to appropriate levels of treatment and establishing ways to determine cost-effective procedures. “We need a new mindset: to share best practices to promote our industry and strengthen our 'turf,' " said study leader Pam Lupo, CO, director of orthotics at Wright & Filippis. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (6/2014)
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Business valuation often is a good idea even if there's no immediate need
Obtaining a valuation for your business may not be necessary, but it may be a good move just to get an objective assessment of what it's worth, Karen Klein writes. And there may be more pressing reasons, including the prospect of a sale or tax, litigation or estate settlement issues. Bloomberg Businessweek (6/9)
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Breaking news from AOPA
Tomorrow is the AOPAversity "Self-Audit" Audio Conference. Ensure that your documentation can withstand the scrutiny of audits -- register today! 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! O&P excluded from proposed post acute care bundling legislation -- get the scoop! The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has confirmed and sworn in Sylvia Burwell as the new HHS Secretary -- 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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Opportunity can be manufactured. Yes, you can wait around for the right set of circumstances to fall into place and then leap into action, but you can also create those sets of circumstances on your own."
-- Biz Stone,
American entrepreneur
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