Groups start lobbying for 2016 essential health benefits | Prosthetic advances sparked by wars | Dipexium starts late-stage clinical trials for foot ulcer drug
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July 24, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Groups start lobbying for 2016 essential health benefits
Overly broad coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act have led to high insurance premiums, and HHS should change the list of essential benefits for 2016, according to members of the Affordable Health Benefits Coalition, which includes the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Consumer groups are lobbying to maintain and perhaps expand the list of benefits insurance plans must offer. Kaiser Health News/Capsules blog (7/23)
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Prosthetic advances sparked by wars
Conflicts from World War I to Afghanistan coupled with remarkable advances in electronic and digital technologies are the chief factors that have led to the current generation of advanced prosthetic limbs, according to this overview article. "What amputees say after using a microprocessor knee is, 'I don't have to think anymore about walking,' " says Mark Agro, president and CEO of Otto Bock Canada. The newest frontiers in prosthetic research are restoration of touch and thought-controlled prostheses. (7/23)
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Medical News
Dipexium starts late-stage clinical trials for foot ulcer drug
Dipexium Pharmaceuticals has begun enrolling patients in the second of two Phase III clinical trials to evaluate the effects of a topical, broad-spectrum antibiotic peptide on mildly infected diabetic foot ulcers. The company hopes to enroll 180 patients at 20 centers in the two double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Pharmaceutical Business Review Online (7/22)
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Study ties 2-year weight loss to lower diabetes odds
A study on the website of Diabetes Care says weight loss at two years was strongly associated with lower diabetes risk and better cardiometabolic profile in patients. However, weight cycling was linked to an increased risk of diabetes. News (7/22)
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Honey shown to aid wound healing
Treatments of filtered medical-grade honey have been shown to be effective in combating antibiotic-resistant infections, aiding wound healing and even preventing amputations. Honey treatments have not yet been subjected to large-scale clinical trials, in part because of scientific skepticism toward a natural product that "seems a bit alternative," according to infection and microbiology consultant Matthew Dryden. BBC (7/22)
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Other News
Legislative and Regulatory
Supreme Court likely to hear yet another ACA case
Two federal court panels issued opposing rulings on whether tax credits for health insurance plans bought through the federally run marketplace are legal under the Affordable Care Act. Unless the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturns the three-judge panel's ruling and agrees with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling, the cases are likely to go to the Supreme Court, experts say. Bloomberg (7/23), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (7/23)
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Spending on health care begins to accelerate, analysis finds
Research from the National Center for Policy Analysis suggests that U.S. health care spending is beginning to accelerate again after several years of slowdown. Spending as a percentage of gross domestic product dropped from 17.4% in 2009 to 17.2% in 2012, but the figure inched back up to 17.4% in the first quarter of this year; and real per capita health care spending grew by 2.2% while real per capita GDP growth was 0.8% from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014. (7/23)
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Trend Watch
Camp offers summer activities to children who have lost limbs
At Camp No Limits in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, children with prosthetic limbs and their families participate in the full range of outdoor activities along with exercise and mentoring programs. The camp now has nine locations throughout the country. "These kids go back knowing they have a whole support system around them. It's just a place to be free," said Carrie Davis of Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, who helped bring to the camp to Coeur d'Alene. The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) (free content) (7/23)
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Business and Finance
Sam E. Hamontree award nominees announced
Three nominees have been announced for AOPA's Sam E. Hamontree Business Education Award, which honors the best paper on business education. Jason T. Kahle, Mike Mallaro and Eric Burns will present their papers Sept. 6 at the association's National Assembly in Las Vegas, and audience members will vote on the best presentation. Healio (free registration) (7/23)
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Breaking news from AOPA
The early bird deadline for National Assembly registration is coming -- register by Monday, July 28, and save $100! DME MACs publish clarification regarding electronic health records -- get the scoop from AOPA! Dive inside the renewed and redesigned O&P Almanac and get your CEs before the next issue! The time is now to voice your position and send your comments to the CMS regarding prior authorization before the July 28 deadline -- send your comments now! The 2015 Medicare O&P Fee Schedule Update has been released -- stay on top of the game! All of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
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 or register online.
Oct. 20-21: Mastering Medicare: Coding & Billing Seminar, St. Louis, Mo. Learn more or register online.
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-- Norman Cousins,
American journalist
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