Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Genium Knee is Here!

The much anticipated Genium microprocessor knee has been released for sale the United States market. This knee stands to change the way that prosthetic knees are seen in the future. The practitioners at OPC are currently working towards certification and will begin fitting patients with this groundbreaking prosthetic knee in the coming weeks.

The Genium knee, by OttoBock, takes the C-Leg technology to the next level. This intuitive prosthetic can determine whether the wearer is standing or sitting and will adjust the position automatically. Stance is released regardless of how the device is weighted, allowing the amputee to move in a variety of directions quickly and safely.

Environmental obstacles, such as curbs and steps, can be traversed quickly by knee flexing . The wearer no longer needs to revert to hip-swing the leg around the obstacle. The Genium knee has complex built-in logic analyzers that quickly adjust the knee to the optimum position for a safe and natural gait.

Unlike many microprocessor knees, the Genium knee features a splash protector. While it cannot be submerged, the wearer doesn't have to worry should he be caught in a rainstorm while walking. This knee is also more compact, enabling amputees with various limb lengths to utilize this prosthetic. The battery charge lasts for five days so the fear of losing power has been virtually eliminated.

The most lauded attribute of this knee lies in the ability of the wearer to walk up stairs leg over leg. The additional sensors built into the prosthetic allow the knee to respond quickly when ascending stairs. This provides for a more natural, and safer, gait pattern.

This is an exciting prosthetic development and we are pleased to bring this technology to our patients! If you are interested in learning more about the Genium knee or think that this prosthetic might be for you, give us a call.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Always Ready To Help

We recognize that many amputees worry about their prosthetic failing while they are out of the area. Whether traveling for pleasure or for work, having a non-functional, uncomfortable or painful prosthetic can ruin a trip. The practitioners at OPC are dedicated to helping their patients, regardless of the miles that separate them from our office.

OPC is pleased to offer Skype conferencing for our patients. Think of it as a cyber house call. If you are out of the area but are experiencing issues with your prosthetic, we are available to troubleshoot the problem and, in many cases, we can provide stopgap remedies until you can return to the office. If we recognize an issue that cannot be remedied through Skype and you require immediate prosthetic care, we can help arrange for you to visit a prosthetic provider for a repair. If you are not able to Skype, feel free to call our office (703) 698-5007 and one of our prosthetists can try to troubleshoot the issue over the phone.

If you have access to Facebook, you have access to the practitioners at OPC! Whether you are out of the area or sitting in your living room, if you have a concern please feel free to post your question on our wall. Somebody will respond quickly and advice you on how to Linkproceed.

Prosthetic issues tend to arise at the most inopportune time. We want our patients to live happy and active lives. Unfortunately with activity can come prosthetic breakdown. Through the miles and with the help of technology, rest easy. Help is always a click or a call away!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

PLEASE Watch and Share

Individuals with Albinism face many obstacles navigating through life. They are prone to light sensitivity, poor vision and social stigmas. In some parts of the world, individuals with albinism live in fear of mutilation and, in some cases, a savage death.

Tanzanian "healers" have longed believed that the bones from Albinos hold mystical and medicinal properties. The bones are crushed and consumed to treat ailments ranging from impotence to cancer. As the use of these healers has increased, so has the demand for the items that they prescribe.

Tanzanian Albinos live in fear of being murdered because of the "medicinal value" of their bodies. Stories abound throughout the country recalling attacks on Albinos. Typically the individual is pulled from their home by bandits, and their limbs are systematically hacked off with machetes. Mutilated and bleeding profusely, the victim is left for dead.

When an attack is survived, the new amputee faces a life of hardship that is unimaginable to many. Prosthetic care is limited and, in many cases, virtually non-existent. In addition to learning to live with their new disability, the survivor continues to live in fear of another attack and suffers from the trauma of the initial assault.

The practitioners at OPC became aware of this situation and resolved to become involved. We had the honor of fitting an amazing woman with Albinism with prosthetic arms. She survived a vicious attack and lost her arms to the bandits, and now travels around the world to spread the message of the plight of her fellow countrymen.

OPC allowed television cameras to film the process of creating and fitting her new prosthetic arms. Originally airing on ABC's 20/20, we are thrilled that the show has been picked up by the OWN Network.

Please watch tonight at 9:00 on the OWN Network. Only through awareness will this ongoing atrocity come to an end.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

We Support HR 1958

Important legislation is currently being debated that will have a great impact on the field of Orthotics and Prosthetics. If passed, the quality of care received by O&P patients throughout this country will be improved substantially. OPC supports this important legislation.

HR 1958- the Medicare Orthotics and Prosthetics Improvement Act of 2011, has received wide bipartisan support. This bill simply enforces existing regulations placed upon the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS is responsible for providing payment for services and prosthetic devices billed through the Medicare and Medicaid system.

A current policy exists instructing CMS to reimburse only for services and devices built by licensed or credentialed Orthotic and/or Prosthetic practitioners. This standard is habitually being ignored by the agency. HR 1958 seeks to enforce the existing guideline. If HR 1958 passes and becomes a law, reimbursement for services and devices will be provided only to practitioners who have met the necessary standards.

OPC believes in establishing a baseline standard of care by which all O&P practitioners must abide. By ignoring licensing requirements, practitioners with insufficient training are building devices and treating patients. By enforcing the licensure requirement, CMS is sending a strong message that only quality care will be reimbursed.

The passage of HR 1958 will improve care for O&P patients. By closing the licensure loophole, fraudulent billing will be reduced by an estimated $250 million over the next five years, according to an independent study.

Shelley Berkley (D-NV), a co-sponsor of this legislation, summed up HR 1958 by saying, "“Our legislation seeks to improve care for patients with orthotics and prosthetic devices and to ensure they are receiving treatment from those who are best suited to address their particular medical needs. At the same time, our bill will save money by cracking down and ending fraudulent payments through Medicare.”

We encourage contacting your local representative to voice your support for HR 1958. A contact form can be found here. Thank you for supporting this important piece of legislation.