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8/29/2016 NEW CHT® Practice Exam !!!
  Hot off the press This is a must have exam - practice exam to help solidify your knowledge. Author: Matt Cummings OTR/L, CHT wrote this brilliant exam. Click Here!  

11/13/2013 Studying for CHT? Need a great reference book? Look no more!
  Rated as a top book to have when preparing for the CHT? exam by the HTCC exam prep survey. This one-of-a-kind paperback book reference provides a comprehensive overview of hand and upper extremity rehabilitation. Featuring a unique question and detailed-answer format, Hand & Upper Extremity Rehabilitation: A Quick Reference Guide (3rd ed) guides the reader from basic information about hand & upper extremity anatomy through complex topics including the most advanced treatment techniques. Over 550 illustrations most of them new to the 3rd ed and 5 new chapters. Each chapter is formatted as a series of multiple-choice questions, complete with detailed answers and references to other hand therapy resources. Appendixes include 200 practice exam, anatomy labeling, Drugs encountered in therapy, and resource vendors. Clinical gems are throughout the book providing the reader with helpful hints and important facts to remember related to certain subjects or questions. http://www.liveconferences.com/product.asp?cid=50  

7/2/2013 Medicare for PT and OT standards have changed
  There was a class action lawsuit to determine if rehabilitation services to include PT/OT can be given for maintenance. In the past Medicare would not pay for services if progress was not noted. The ruling is in and "The settlement recognizes that Medicare will pay for care to maintain their condition and prevent backsliding." According to the Washington Post In January, a federal judge approved a settlement in which the government agreed that this "improvement standard" is not necessary to receive coverage. Get our Documentation course to cover G codes and learn what to use for this type of coverage. Remember G codes are non-billable and must be accompanied by a billable code. Follow AOTA or better yet joint AOTA to get the full story. Your organization continues to keep OT in the forefront of providing quality care to recipients.  

5/1/2013 G Codes C Modifiers
  Confused about what a G code is? Wondering what is a C modifier and how it would apply to your customer/client/patient? Exploring Hand Therapy has a fantastic DOCUMENTATION course to help you sort this out. Note if you already have the Documentation course you only need the G Code course. Excellent courses to make you prepared.  

6/27/2012 New New EHT Releases
  Exploring Hand Therapy/Treatment2go contiues to improve. We now have most of our CEU interactive moive courses available on most devices including but not limited to iPads, iPhones, Smart phones, tablets, Mac, PC and most devices. EHT's new release BRACHIAL PLEXUS: SECRETS of Treating TOS and Cumulative Trauma Disorders: An Evidence Based Approach are available online and DVD. Fantastic courses loaded with tons of relavent research and clinical information. You will learn as you venture into to these two fantastic new courses. Go to www.handtherapy.com and view our course selection  

10/12/2011 Dean Kamen's "Luke" Arm
  A few years ago we discussed Dean Kamen's artificial Arm in the EHT News. Here is an update about this fascinating invention. The Luke Arm has such precision it can peal a grape. In 2005 the research began and the department of defense (DOD) was the driving force to help the injured servicemen and women. The arm had to have 4 main components: modular, lightweight, agile, controllable. A hand, elbow or even a shoulder socket can be added to achieve daily activities of living. To see the progress and this amazing arm visit the spectrum website Click Here!  

9/12/2011 CTD, BOOT CAMP, ORTHOTICS, THER EX -- GREAT NEW COURSES
  Exploring Hand Therapy dba Treatment2go has been busy busy busy creating fantastic evidenced based, up to date relevant courses for you. These movie interactive DVD courses are one of a find filled with knowledge from veteran hand therapists and national speakers. Visit www.handtherajpy.com and check out our courses.  

8/17/2011 TENDONS and EXERCISE Courses and MORE
  Exploring Hand Therapy dba Treatment2go is on a roll. We have released excellent courses to take your hand therapy knowledge to the hightest level. Extensor Tendon Management is a must have regardless if you see extensor tendons daily or bimonthly this is an informative and well presented digital online course. Also just released is Therapeutic Exercies: An UE Regime and focuses on exercises from the shoulder to the hand. EHT/TX2Go is dedicated to excellence in education and invites you to visit www.liveconferences.com to order your course today.  

5/13/2011 Practice Act for Occupational Therapy
  Many states are allowing OTs to peform wound care and sharp debridement and they are including this vital necessary serive in the state practice acts. AOTA continues to work diligently for our profession and they recently announced "AOTA defends your scope of practice in all states, and we had a victory in Washington state—the governor signed the revised OT practice act into law to include wound care and sharp debridement. " Check your state practice act to ensure you are able to administer wound care including sharp debridement.  

5/1/2011 Splinting GALORE!
  Exploring Hand Therapy dba Treatment2day is excited to announce two informative, well presented, creative splinting courses. Orthotics: Creative Static Splinting Made Easy & Orthotics: Creative Mobilization Splinting - dynamic and static progressive. These fantasic courses are worth checking out for any therapist fabricating splints and ones that want to. Go to hand therapy courses via www.handtherapy.com or to our check out cart at www.liveconferences.com  

10/26/2010 Surgery isn't the only option for Dupuytren's Disease
  The FDA approved XIAFLEX a Collagenase Clostridium Histolyticum transforming treatment. Approved for adults with Dupuytren's contracture with a palpable cord. Xiaflex is an injection of collagenase which will assist with breaking down the pathological cord. As with everything there are side effects and some of them are as follows: * Damadge to the tendons or ligaments, Nerve injury or other serious injury of the hand, Allergic reactions. As the therapists you should be aware of this option, the benefits, riks and side effects. You can check out this new option at xiaflextoday.com  

5/11/2010 Health Care Reform in a Nut Shell
  Health Care Reform passed (111-148) and now how does it impact therapy? As the bill evolves over the next few years, therapy may see some positive and not so positive changes. There will be significant impact on payment structure for Medicare HMO (Advantage) in a variety of areas like home health, SNF, inpatient, hospital in reduction in payment based on productivity standards. There is a push for improving quality of care and this will be linked to payment. There is a pilot program to look at bundling payment for therapy, post acute, inpatient, hospital outpatient, physician services up to 30 days post d/c. Some positive aspects focus on OT being included in minimum benefits packages, grants programs for public health services, community health services and more. Great mews is OT will be included to participate in a variety of pilot study programs. Ones such inclusion of OT is in the area of direct access. This study will determine cost effectiveness for services. Excellent that OT is included in this study. The heated debate regarding OT scope of practice dealing with orthotic/prosthetics will not be changed and the value of OT providing such service will continue. The Therapy cap exception is extended through 2010. Some disappointing news for OT deals with initiating home health services. Due to many factors the bill did not go to the floor and therefore was not heard. To stay up to date on the healthcare reform and legislative laws that impact your profession consider joining your professional organization. For OTs the AOTA is a dedicated organization that needs our support to continue to move OT profession to the forefront of health care reform. AOTA has worked hard and will continue to work hard on our behalf. Please consider supporting them. To listen to the AOTA podcasts dealing with vital issues that impact you, CLICK HERE  

2/22/2010 Exploring Hand Therapy Goes to Philly
  The 2010 Philadelphia Meeting is March 6th - 9th. Click HERE for the therapist brochure.  

1/16/2010 CHT Preparation Course -- Newly Released – UPDATED - FANTASTIC
  Basics and Beyond: Part 1 & 2: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW - Shoulder to Finger is the BEST and most comprehensive study course on the market. Exploring Hand Therapy recently expanded content, illustrations, photos to the popular HTCC TOP RATED Basics and Beyond (formally known as Basics and Beyond: A Comprehensive study of the Hand and UE). INTRODUCING the BRAIN GAME with over 300 pop quizzes throughout the course to solidify your understanding of the upper extremity from conservative intervention to post-surgical rehabilitation Basics and Beyond is bound to challenge your mind. From pathophysiology to surgical intervention knowledge Basics and Beyond is the ONE AND ONLY course to give you theoretical, philosophical, clinical, and surgical content to improve your therapeutic interventions and help you reach your goals of becoming a well round, educated clinical therapists. See you online.This course is the best.  

12/29/2009 THERAPY CAP for Out Patient SERVICES Takes effect January 1, 2010
  Here we go again. The Therapy Cap is to Return in 2010 until Health Reform is Passed! The Senate's inability to pass health reform legislation in a timely manner has caused the therapy cap to remain unaddressed in 2009. It won't be addressed this year because the House has recessed for the year removing the possibility of a short term extension to bridge the gap between January 1, 2010 and when Congress will finally pass reform legislation, which is expected to be late January 2010.

We continue this on again off again situation (which has been going on since the Budget ACT of 1997 and implemented in 1999) As in the past, Congress is expected to pass health care reform legislation that will provide a 2 year extension to the fee schedule fix and the therapy cap exceptions process in late January.
What does this mean to professionals providing outpatient therapy. Well it means lots of headaches, paperwork, and a cap on reimbursement which may translate into a cap on services rendered. The therapy cap is set for $1,860 in 2010 and will hopefully be addressed before the State of the Union speech in late January. Practitioners must be aware that the reimbursement cap will be in place on January 1 2010. You will need to address this situation with your supervisor/director and I am sure you will have to notify your patients/clients of the cap especially if they begin to near the cap. It is expected that action to extend the exceptions process is likely around the end of January which would reduce the impact on beneficiaries and practitioners. For more information contact AOTA.org
 

9/21/2009 Mind Controlling Prosthetic Robot Arm. WOW!
  Dean Kamen the inventor of the "Luke" arm is the man behind the mind controlling prosthetic arm. The "Luke" arm has great promise to giving independence back to upper extremity amputees. The complex arm electronics has around 12 sophisticated processors and, believe it or not, has sensory feedback sensors on the thumb. The arm can be controlled by nerves, muscles and/or foot pedals. This is promising and the Veteran's Administration is on board to test via clinical trials. The cost is over $100,000.00 but to gain independence it is priceless. To learn more about this arm and see a video visit HERE  

6/29/2009 Bilateral Hand Transplant
  A 57 year old male received bilateral hand transplants May 5, 2009 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
Jeff Kepner, lost his hands and feet in 1999 due to a strept infection that spread throughout his body that developed into toxic shock syndrome. Mr. Kepner’s daughter was 3 years old when he lost his hands and his goal is to hold his, now 13 year old daughter’s hand. Mr. Kepner is a pastry chef and he looks forward to returning to cooking. Recipients of organ transplants require lifelong immunosuppressive drugs or they will lose their organ. Hand transplant recipients also require these anti-rejection drugs or they will lose their hand(s). These drugs have serious side effects including diabetes, hypertension, and other disorders, UPMC medical team established a protocol reducing the multiple immunosuppressant drugs required for hand transplant recipients. The surgeons at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center said the surgery went well and following intensive care Mr. Kepner will receive 3 months of intensive hand therapy to begin functional restoration of his hand joints. The hand surgeons are optimistic and expect protective sensation and more. For more information visit University of Pittsburgh Medical Center website and search bilateral hand transplant. Click Here!
 

4/20/2009 Elastic Garments - Noncovered
  CMS has determined that elastic garments do not meet the statutory definition of a brace because they are not rigid or semi-rigid devices. Therefore, effective for claims with dates of service on or after April 1, 2009, these items will be denied as noncovered, no benefit category. Click HERE for the codes this applies to.  

2/18/2009 Drug Free Methods for Chronic Pain
  The latest trend for pain management is to take a more conservative treatment approach. OT and PT are great resources to accomplish this approach. One such method is through imagination. New advances in neuroscience shed light on the imagination or Guided Imagery process. It is well known that acute pain is processed in the area of the brain that is connected to tissue damage; while chronic pain is processed in the area of the brain that also processes memories, emotions and coping mechanisms. It is not unusual for chronic pain to continue even past the point when the body tissues have healed. Through Guided Imagery the repeated thoughts and emotions create nerve pathways in the brain. Chronic pain impulses travel along well-worn pathways. By using techniques such as guided imagery to build new nerve pathways, the "pain pathways can become less active" and the pain can decrease. Imagination, guided imagery, mirror therapy, motor imagery are some of the avenues therapists are implementing conservative methods for treating chronic pain. Exploring Hand Therapy has a great Chronic Pain/RSD Tips, Trick & Trivia course that introduces various treatment options as well as a excellent course on Mirror Therapy.  

1/30/2009 Pain Care Act heading to the Senate, again.
  The National Pain Care Act (HR 2994) was introduced in the U.S. House last session by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), with the support of about 40 medical groups and organizations, including the American Cancer Society and the American Pain Foundation (APF). Although the bill passed in the House in the fall of 2008, it must be reintroduced in the current legislative session. If the bill passes in the House, then APF and other groups will work to get it passed in the Senate.
The Pain Care Act also calls for the creation of a pain consortium within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to develop a pain-research agenda and provide funding for studies. "Less than two percent of the research dollars at NIH are used to research pain," Rowe said. The federal government provides support and funding for heart conditions, diabetes, and other conditions. "We want them to do something similar for pain. Typically, it takes people who are in pain 10 different visits to get the proper treatment," Rowe said. To learn more about pain research and current pain events please Click Here!
 

11/12/2008 FINAL 2009 CHANGES TO PAYMENT POLICIES AND RATES UNDER MEDICARE PHYSICIAN FEE SCHEDULE
  On October 30, 2008, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule for the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) for calendar year CY 2009. The final rule establishes payment rates and policy changes that will go into effect for services furnished by physicians and non-physician practitioners (NPPs) to people with Medicare on or after January 1, 2009. This is a lengthy ruling close to 1500 pages. The AOTA and APTA will make sense of this ruling and how it relates to our professions. However, if you would to skim the ruling please click the link provided and mid way through the bulletin there is a link for the ruling in PDF. CLICK HERE  

10/14/2008 Fascinating Information about Neurobotics
  For people with limited mobility the world of neurobotics is a promising area of study. At the University of Washington, researchers have created a lifelike robotic hand. View the video of Yoky Matsuoka and neurobotics. This is a lengthy video but well worth it and she stresses the challenges of the hand. It is fascinating. Enjoy. CLICK HERE  

8/25/2008 A Regular Dip Could Benefit Those with Fibromyalgia
  People with fibromyalgia could benefit significantly from regular exercise in a heated swimming pool, a study published in the open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy shows. The findings suggest a cost effective way of improving quality of life for those with this often-debilitating disorder. Fibromyalgia is a common, painful syndrome, with no known cause and no accepted cure. Symptoms usually involve chronic pain and tenderness in muscles, ligaments and tendons. Along with pain, patients also report problems with sleep, anxiety and depression. This article is attributed to the Arthritis foundation. For the complete story please Click Here!  

6/10/2008 Arthritis may be triggered by environmental exposures?
  A number of environmental exposures, including trauma, are associated with the onset of inflammatory arthritis in patients with psoriasis, findings published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases indicate. "Psoriatic arthritis can be considered as a 'disease within a disease'," Dr. Ian N. Bruce, of the University of Manchester, UK, and colleagues write. Psoriatic arthritis is "inflammatory arthritis on a background of pre-existing or future development of psoriasis."
"Usually arthritis post-dates, often by several years, the onset of psoriasis," they note. So for patients with psoriasis, it is would be helpful to know what factors increase their risk of developing this condition. To investigate, the researchers compared 98 patients who developed inflammatory arthritis within the past 5 years to a "control group" of 163 patients with psoriasis but not arthritis. A postal questionnaire was used to assess potential factors associated with the development of inflammatory arthritis.

Exposures before the onset of arthritis that positively correlated with the condition included rubella vaccination (4.6 percent for psoriatic arthritis patients vs 0.7 percent for controls); trauma requiring medical care (14.9 percent vs 7.9 percent); and recurrent oral ulcers (25.3 percent vs 8.9 percent). Psoriatic arthritis patients were more likely to have moved than were controls (30.3 percent vs. 18.2 percent, respectively). Psoriatic arthritis patients were also more likely than controls to have had a bone fracture that required hospital admission (50 percent versus 9 percent).

These finding need to be replicated, especially for those exposures that increase the risk of arthritis that have not previously reported, Bruce and colleagues note. A better understanding of the triggers that contribute to the development of psoriatic arthritis might also elucidate the biological mechanisms that underlie this disease.

SOURCE: Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, May 2008 fron the National Library of Medicine: MEDLINE PLUS
 

4/3/2008 Occupational Therapy and Home Health -- Making Progress?
  The Medicare Home Health Flexibility Act was introduced by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). The bill would allow occupational therapists to conduct the initial assessment for Medicare home health beneficiaries when occupational therapy is included on the physician's referral along with physical therapy and/or speech therapy. The bill is actively supported by AOTA and the National Association of Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). Look for additional information on the AOTA Legislative Action Center in the future.  

4/3/2008 Therapy Out-Patient Medicare CAP (ONCE AGAIN) But we need your help
  The six month extension on the exceptions process and the fee schedule fix expire on June 30. The AOTA has made it very easy to get involved. We need everyone to contact their state representatives. Please help the profession and put this cap to rest once and for all. The form literally only takes 2.5 minutes TOPS to complete. AOTA could not have made it any easier. Please get involved and help your profession. Thank you! Click here: http://capwiz.com/aota/issues/alert/?alertid=10910161  

2/19/2008 Osteoarthritis Pain in the Hands
  According to research presented at the annual meeting, European League Against Rheumatism, June 2007 in Barcelona, Spain people with hand OA experience a significant increase in pain and loss of hand function in just TWO years. This is significant because this is much earlier than previously believed. Typically, x-rays are not helpful in the early states of OA because subtantial joint destruction often happens before it is detected on xrays. However, at the annual meeting in Spain researchers stated that progression hand OA could be seen on x-rays in 20%. This is significant for therapists as we LISTEN to our patients andimplement pain relieve, joint protection, ergonomics, and activity modification into the early states of OA.  

1/8/2008 Alcohol Good? Smoking Bad? Breastfeeding?
  Acording to Australian researchers, male smokers experienced greater cartilage loss and increased pain from osteoarthritis vs men who did not smoke. Reports that smoking increased symptoms in knee OA was released in 12/2006 via ithe online issue of the Annal for the Rheumatic Disease and recently in the Australian research report May 2007 issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism. However there was evidence presented at the European League against Rheumatism June 2007 in Spain that suggests drinking more than 3 drinks a weeks may reduce the risk of developing RA. The presentors stated the more alcoholic beverages consumed (specifically wine) the greater their protecion against developing RA. However, if one smokes and drinks; unfortunately, smoking negated some of the protective benefits of the alcohol. Also, interesing in this same study presented in Spain, researchers found that babies that breastfeed longer than 13 months MAY have protection against developing RA. Obviously more research is needed to understand how alcohol comsumption and prolonged breastfeeding may protect against RA. As always, don't over drink and the researchers caution that excessive amounts of alcohol can have more negative effects on your health than benefits.  

12/31/2007 Physician and Outpatient FEE services
  On December 19, 2007 the House overwhelmingly approved S.2499, the Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 by a vote of 411-3. President Bush signed into law in December. This law provides a 0.5% update to the Medicare physician reimbursement rate through June 30, 2008. If this was not passed Medicare payments to Physicians would have decreased by 10% as a result of a formula used to calculate the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). The SGR is intended to keep spending on physician services consistent with a target based on growth in the natinal economy. If actual spendin is greater than the target (as it has been since 2002) then physicians receive a negative update on fees. This Extension Act of 2007 is only a temporary fix. So please visit AOTA or APTA and get involved with sending you senators and Representatives emails to find a more permanent solution to this annual reimbursement dilemma.  

12/26/2007 Therapy Cap
  The Therapy Cap restrictions have been extended for 6 months until June 2008. Please continue to contact your congress and senators as this issue is only delayed not defeated. You can find more information at Centers for Medicare Services (CMS.gov) as well as AOTA.  

12/11/2007 Out Patient Therapy CAP
  The congressionally mandated outpatient therapy cap for CY 2008 will be $1,810 per beneficiary for OT and $1,810 per beneficiary for PT and SLP combined. As in previous years, the outpatient therapy cap does not apply to outpatient hospital settings. In the final rule, CMS acknowledges that they received many comments in opposition to the therapy caps, but states that CMS does not have the regulatory authority to end the caps or to extend the cap exceptions process from CY 2007; such changes can only be made by Congress. Therapists need your help by DEC 31, 2007. AOTA has been very instrumental by representing the best interests of the public and stopping the therapy CAPS. AOTA continues to lobby against these cuts but Congress must hear from you to understand the importance of getting legislation passed that will extend the therapy cap exceptions process for 2008 and 2009. To contact your congress AOTA has set up a user friendly email. Please Click Here!  

11/3/2007 The OT Profession is Bouncing Back
  Due to federal legislation limiting and/or restructing reimbursement in the late 90s and early 2000 was difficult for the OT, PT, and SLP professions resulting in layoffs, cutbacks, as well as pay and position freezes. Well, now the rehab. profession is on a comeback. The traditional settings of hospitals, schools and out-patient remain strong; a new emerging field in geratrics is on the rise. OTs skills are sought after to help the elderly stay in their own home vs going to long term care facilities. Other professional areas OTs are finding rewarding is driver assessments, ergonomic consulting and technology assistive device development and consulting servies. OTs can be creative and design their own plan to enter into the area of the aging American.  

10/21/2007 Need YOUR HELP to STOP the Therapy Cap
  Call Stop the Therapy Capstoll-free call-in line October 29 through November 2. Call 866-346-2770 from October 29 to November 2 and be briefed on the key message to share with your Congressional office on the therapy cap and then be patched directly to your Members of Congress. It is important Congress hears from all of us. We must take action.l For more detail go to http://www.aota.org/News/AOTANews/40831.aspx  

9/18/2007 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - What are the causes?
  Some people believe that work activities that involve overuse of the wrist and hand, repetitive impact on the palm and tools that vibrate can cause CTS," said Dr. Hartigan. "Extremes of wrist flexion and extension have been shown (experimentally) to elevate pressure within the carpal tunnel. However, the relationship between repetitive work activity and CTS has never been objectively demonstrated." A new study appearing in the September 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons navigates through CTS. Click here  

8/6/2007 Osteoporosis drug may help decrease symptoms of OA
  Calcitonin is a hormone used to treat postmenopausal women for bone loss due to osteoporosis. Calcitonin is also used to treat high amounts of calcium in blood & Pagent's disease of the bone. Preliminary studies show that rats slowed or stopped erosion OA of the knee joint when using this drug. This drug is administered via injection or nasal spray. Although this is encouraging, these findidngs are in its earsly stages of research (Arthritis & Rheumatism August 2007 Vol 56). This is something to keep an eye on.  

7/6/2007 Promising non-surgical treatment for Dupuytren's Disease
  Currently in the process of FDA approval is the injection of collagenase.
In phase III of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval Collagenase injection is another promising therapy to treat DD. This procedure is similar to needle aponeurotomy, however the chords are weakened through the injection of small amounts of an enzyme that dissolves them. Collagenases are enzymes that break the peptide bonds in collagen. They assist in destroying extracellular structures in bacteria pathogenesis. Collagenase is being used for treating Dupuytren's Disease via an injection.
Below is a list of non-surgical treatments for DD:
*Radiation therapy (specifically in early stages inhibits development of contracture)
*Triamcinolone (kenalog) injections provide some relief
Treatment of Dupuytren's disease with low energy x-rays (radiotherapy) may cure Morbus Dupuytren on a long term, specifically if applied in early stages of the disease.
*Needle aponeurotomy (release of the contracture) is a minimal invasive technique where the cords are weakened through the insertion and manipulation of a small needle. Once weakened, the offending cords may be snapped by simply pulling the finger(s) straight. The nodules are not removed and might start growing again. This is usually performed in the doctor's office.
 

6/8/2007 DME NEWS
  If you are keeping up on the DME news there is bidding occuring now. CMS has opened the bid window for the first round of the Medicare DMEPOS competitive bidding program. All bids are due by 9:00 p.m. prevailing Eastern Time on July 13, 2007. Click HERE and look at the box to the left for specific milestones, topics, and rulings.  

5/14/2007 What is New with CMS Competitive Bidding
  Occupational Therapists in private practice are exempt from CMS competitive bidding requirements. The AOTA advocacy is a great link to ensuring this success. In its final rule on DMEPOS competitive bidding, published in the Federal Register April 5, 2007, CMS specifically exempted occupational therapists in private practice (OTPPs) from participating in the competitive bidding process to allow OTPPs to continue to furnish certain types of competitively bid items (namely, off-the-shelf orthotics such as splints) to their own patients when these items are furnished as part of their professional services under a plan of care. AOTA is pleased to announce this win after advocating rigorously to CMS over the past 3 years for OT exemption from competitive bidding. However, all DMEPOS suppliers must obtain accrediation from an approved organization.
To read the CMS final rule in its entirely click here
 

4/26/2007 Arthritis Prevention, Control & Cure Act Introduced to 110th Congress
  Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act (S. 626 / H.R. 1283)
Arthritis Prevention, Control, and Cure Act proposes to strengthen arthritis public health initiatives, which would ensure that more people are diagnosed early and avoid pain and permanent disability. While there are several new medicines available to treat the symptoms of arthritis, there is no cure. The legislation proposes to ensure that limited federal funding for arthritis research is used in the most strategic manner possible through the formation of a federal interagency coordinating committee. Finally, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment are critical for children with arthritis. Learn more go to Arthritis Foundation by Click HERE
 

4/12/2007 Oppose Legislation Permitting "Incident-To" Billing for Therapy Services by Non Qualified Therapists
  The AOTA posted an ACTION ALERT to protect Occupational Therapy's Scope of Practice. Action is needed immediately. Please Contact your Representatives and urge their opposition to this legislation. After you click the link provided below, you will be directed to the AOTA website where you can read a brief history, AOTA's position and the ACTION needed. At the bottom of the AOTA page is a user friendly form to fill out that will automatically be sent to your Representatives (your zip code will direct the email to the correct Representatives). Thank you for your support. Click Here!  

3/26/2007 April is OT Month - AOTA Raising Awareness for our Colleagues Serving in the Military
  OT month is a great opportunity for OT to get recognition. Occupational Therapists and Assistants throughout the country raise awareness in support of their profession every April. Occupational Therapists are creative and many projects from news releases to community involvment have been successfully organized. This year the AOTA is focusing on treatment given to our military. Have fun organizing and designing your campaign to promote OT. For more information about the AOTA or to check out the promotional items check out AOTA  

3/22/2007 New Surgical Instruments for Distal Radius Fracture
  The University of Pennsylvania Health System, particularly the Penn Orthopedic Institue is looking at a series of low profile locking plates that combine pins and plates to treat complex or challenging distal radius fractures in the older patient. According to PENN Today Online, "In the past, some surgeons may have used external fixation, but we've found that internal fixation, and low profile plates in particular, provide technically better control," says David Steinberg, MD, director of the hand and upper extremity fellowship at the Penn Orthopaedic Institute. "The plates allow us to align the bones better and patients are able to rehab faster"  

3/20/2007 PENN Orthopedic Flexor Tendon Research on the Cutting Edge
  The Penn Orthopaedics laboratory is one of the top three U.S. centers for National Institutes of Health-funded tendon research. A particular area of interest is the flexor tendon and what can be done medically or surgically to reduce scarring and promote healing in this delicate area. At present research is being conducted on the cellular level of the tendon and tendon healing. The researches feel their work will carry over into how we treat flexor tendons in the clinical setting for both surgeons and therapists. Click Here to learn more:  

3/18/2007 Older adults are more active. Good and Bad
  More adults are active. That is good news. Unfortunately, the bad news is there seems to be a rise in sports related injuries, according to Mayo Clinic. Sports Injuries increased 54% for adults 65 years and older from 1990 to 1996 according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission ( this is the most recent data available). Most of the injuries were associated with active sports such as biking, skiing, tennis and skating. Often, injuries were related to inflammation and simple wear and tear aggravated by overuse. We as therapists, have the opportunity to educate seniors on proper pre and post exercise stretching, pain management, warm up and cool down routines. Recommend seniors to instructors (sports pros) for their sport so they can learn proper playing technique(s). Also the sport pros can assist the senior in purchasing good fitting equipment to help decrease the risk of injury. Ensure your patient knows that pain usually means their body is "screaming to be heard" and they should listen and implement the above recommendations vs thinking they have to work through the pain ("no pain - no gain" is not good advice).  

3/15/2007 Osteoporosis and osteoporotic fracture
  We, as hand therapists, treat patients who have been diagnoised with osteoprosis. We most likely are seeing them because they had a fracture. Often patient's ask therapists about osteoprosis. Although we always refer them back to their doctors for medical advice, it is important for us to understand osteoprosis and risk factors. According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), advancements in management in osteoprosis has prompted new evidence based guidelines. One factor doctors are taking into consideratio is the patient's lifestyle. Lifestyle modifications that include a balanced diet, adequate calcium and vitamin D intake, appropriate exercise, avoidance of smoking and excessive alcohol use, and fall prevention are encouraged for all postmenopausal women. Boggs said the importance of vitamin D, in addition to calcium, plays a great role in osteoporosis management. To read the story CLICK HERE  

2/28/2007 Reimbursement Issues for Medicare
  OT services will not be cut the expected 5% for Medicare. There is a 0% or no change for one year. AOTA and others have been working diligently to ensure OT services were not cut in reimbursement.  

2/7/2007 Occupational Therapy Featured in U.S. News & World Report
  Occupational Therapy is ranked as a top career according to the U.S. News & World Report. The article briefly describes the importance of OT for daily tasks and how Ots help maintain indpendence. Click HERE for more details:  

2/7/2007 Political Victory
  There is yet another one year extension on the Medicare Part B out-patient OT cap. This means that if your clinical setting is an outpatient facility, CORF, or CARF you do not have a manual cap on the amount Medicare will reimburse. The down side is, as in the past, it is only a one year extension so the political fighting must continue. We need to keep this alive in the minds of Congress to once and for all eliminate the out-patient Medicare Part B Cap.  

 
     
 
 
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