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In these fast moving, complex times there is a certain simplicity in sharing information with individuals you care about.

That is what we hope to accomplish with this Blog: Provide knowledge and insights that will help enable each of us to overcome our individual challenges and live life to the fullest.

Team Green Gives Back

Imagine you lost an arm or leg.  And you know that artificial limbs exists that can help you live a more normal life.  However, the reality you face — is that your chances of ever receiving a device are slim, if not impossible. That is what millions of people in under developed countries live with every day of their life.

In order to make a difference, our Owner and Lead Practitioner, Michelle Loehrke along with Bob Miaczynski, Senior Technician volunteered for a Medical Mission to the Dominican Republic.  Their goal was to help physically challenged individuals increase their level of independence with the hope that this would enable them to become active contributors in their communities.  Patient referrals were provided by a Christian organization called Meeting God In Mission.   

Dominican Republic

According to the World Health Organization more than 600 million people experience disabilities of various types and degrees. 30 million of those individuals live in under developed countries and are in need of prosthetic / orthotic devices.  While these numbers are staggering the resolution is always the same. It starts with treating one patient at a time. 

During Michelle’s and Bob’s stay in the Dominican Republic, the goal was to treat as many people as possible.  Getting to them was difficult as some lived in rural areas.  To reach them they often traveled standing up in the back of a pickup truck.  Ensuring they had the right materials and tools, without having seen the patients in advance was also a challenge.  It required both insight and creativity.  Additionally, something we take for granted was ensuring there was adequate power available. 

When speaking about the mission, Michelle and Bob indicated that volunteering in the Dominican Republic, was exciting, austere, and at times a little dangerous.  However, just like seeing our patients at home, helping people in need can and does enrich our lives immeasurably.


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What Are You Holding On To?

There’s a story about a South African tribe that made their living by selling monkeys to research organizations. How they captured them was unique.

They started by hallowing out a gourd and cutting a hole in the bottom just large enough so that a monkey’s hand could fit into it. They would then place a large piece of fruit inside the gourd, secure the top, and hang it from a tree.

 

A monkey would come by smell the fruit, reach in and grab it, but they couldn’t pull the fruit through the opening. And because the monkey wanted the fruit so badly they wouldn’t let go! Eventually a tribe member would come by and capture them.

Like the monkey, many of us are “holding on” to things that are not contributing to our well being?” It could be anger, guilt, fear, regrets, unresolved issues from the past, or “stuff” that we think will make us happy but won’t. All those things get in the way of our living an abundant life. They keep us captured inside our own perceived limitations. 

 As we begin 2013 it’s a fantastic time to take stock of what is not serving us and resolving to let it go. We can call it kind of a beginning year house cleaning! This in turn will make room for those things that are good for our bodies, mind, and spirit!

 Peace & Energy, Team Green

 


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HUGE, BIG Win for O&P & Our Patients

Most Devices Are Exempt from 2.3% Excise Tax at Both the Component Manufacturer & Patient Care Facility Level

AOPA is pleased to inform members that the Treasury Department has today released the final rule for the medical device excise tax. Broadly speaking, and most importantly, Treasury has confirmed what they had stated in the proposed rule-that “prosthetic and orthotic devices,” DO qualify for exemption from the 2.3 percent medical device tax under the retail exemption provided in the Affordable Care Act.

The technical jargon in the final rule confirmed “prosthetic and orthotic” devices as defined in 42 CFR 414.202, that do not require implementation or insertion by a medical professional; and “(T)herapeutic shoes,” as described in 42 CFR 414.228(c) qualify for the safe harbor provision” considered to be of a type generally purchased by the general public at retail for individual use” (and so, qualify for retail exemption). AOPA had several specific meetings and consultations with IRS and Treasury beginning nearly two years ago explaining why we believed O&P devices were eligible for this retail exemption.

Additionally, Treasury has responded favorably to the specific argument AOPA presented that this retail exemption required that the manufacturers of components (and potentially complete devices) should also be exempt from the 2.3% tax as to these products because otherwise the patient would be required to “…pay the excise tax as the tax would just be shifted higher up the distribution chain.” This is a dramatically important and favorable outcome for O&P in this final rule. It is clear that companies that manufacture components that are used by a patient care facility provider to fabricate an exempt O&P device (under the safe harbor rule) are also exempt, as to those components, from the medical device excise tax.

What does that mean for O&P patients?

Generally speaking all custom made orthotic and prosthetic devices that a patient would require will not cost us an additional 2.3% to build. This will allow us to keep patient co-pays, deductibles, and cost lower for you. Great news!

For Full Article visit: http://www.aopanet.org/

Thanks for Reading, Team Green


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Teamwork – An Endangered Quality in Healthcare?

In our website we point out that many of us at one time or another experienced what it was like to be a part of an exceptional team. It was a collection of individuals who worked together, had a set of common goals & values, trusted one another, complemented each others’ strengths, and compensated for each others’ limitations. Often times the team produced exceptional results.

When you obtain healthcare services in today’s environment often you become part of a new Team. At Green Prosthetics & Orthotics, that Team may include physicians, prosthetists, orthotists, nurses, therapists, rehabilitation specialists, office personnel, as well as insurance representatives. Their sole purpose is to provide you or someone you love with the most successful treatment available.

We have always believed that having all those team members work together is critical to providing great care.Unfortunately, a disturbing pattern in healthcare is emerging. What we are experiencing, is despite their good intensions, as today’s healthcare providers are attempting to comply with new federal regulations; accept lower payments from insurance carriers; deal with continued cost increases; and implement new technologies –they are being forced to function independently. And when Teamwork is compromised the patient’s chances of achieving the most successful outcome can be compromised as well.

So what are we as patients or guardians to do? We can’t fix the whole healthcare system!

The answer lies in understanding that modern medicine today is in fact a team sport that requires exceptional teamwork. And like it or not, as the patient or their advocate, you have to make yourself the Captain of the Team. Your main role is making sure all the players are communicating and collaborating with one another and continually striving for the best possible outcome.

Down the road with less costly, more secure, and easier to use electronic medical records systems, cross-functional communications will become less difficult. Until then, as the Captain, make sure your healthcare star players understand that they don’t shine alone. It takes a Team!

Peace & Energy, Team Green

 


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What Are You Running “To” ? ? ?

You might think that a discussion about running in a Prosthetic & Orthotic Blog is somewhat unusual.  Well — not so much!  Especially if you consider that the difference in the current 100 meter world record for an Olympian vs. a Para-Olympian is less than 2 seconds. So running is more than a viable topic for all of us especially during the celebration of the 2012 Olympics.

In one way or another we’re all engaged in some form of running.  There is actual physical running; running to loose weight; running to establish a personal record; running to get in shape; running to relieve stress.  Then there is the not so obvious “life’s running”:  running to get to work; running to avoid; running to get your kids to practice; running to get away; or running to catch up because our life’s been placed on “fast forward”.   And more often than not we’re running “to” something.

So how about we forget about running “to” something.  When you lace up the shoes let’s just run or walk for the pure fun of it”?  Sounds like a nice idea.  However, I think many of us would conclude that running or even walking can be difficult, challenging, and often times not so much fun.

Well, here’s another idea.  The next time you set out to run or walk, bring “enjoyment” with you?  That’s right, either mentally or even better physically, record on your IPod or write down those things that make you happy and bring them along.  That way you won’t have to worry about finding joy “out there”.  It will already be with you. And when you’re done, whether you’ve run 5 yards, 5 miles, or just walked, because you’ve brought your own happiness to the task there’s a very good chance that it will be enjoyable.

Perhaps we can apply this philosophy to “life’s running”  and bring enjoyment to those difficult, not so much fun things that life has us run for. Think about it!

Peace & Energy, Team Green


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Hidden Hopes & Dreams Made Real…

This awesome video captures the experiences of six wounded Israeli solders who, along with their U.S.and British counterparts, participated in a U.S. Paralympic Military Sports Camp.

The camp lasted only four (4) days and for many it was their first introduction to the world of paralympic sports.  It truly highlights the possibilities that current technology, therapy, and coaching can provide for those who have sustained life-changing injuries. In the case of the Israeli participants all the activities they performed on the video were ones they were doing for the very first time. Pretty incredible!

The participants were sponsored in part by a number of non-profit organizations including US Olympic Committee – Paralympic Military & Veterans Program; Britain’s Battle Back – Ministry of Defense Organization; and the Israeli Charity Tikvot (Hebrew for Hopes).  Music on the video was Fix You by Coldplay.

At Green Prosthetics & Orthotics we have found that many individuals who are facing the challenge of replacing a limb believe their highly active lives are going to be either severely limited or over.  That’s simply not the case.

As our corporate tag line Renewing Bodies – Restoring Lives suggests, moving beyond perceived limitation and living life to the fullest is not only possible but very achievable.

Peace & Energy, Team Green


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Limb Loss Awareness – Are You At Risk?

Every day in the United States over 500 individuals loose a limb. And according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention 60% of the nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people who have Diabetes. It’s estimated that about 29 million Americans have diabetes. That’s over 8% of our population. 7 million of those individuals go undiagnosed.

Given those facts there’s a good chance that you or someone you care about is at risk!

But here’s what is interesting! Despite the numbers, warnings, and wealth of information regarding diet, obesity and sedimentary lifestyles this largely “preventable disease” is on the rise. And a disturbing number of those being diagnosed are children. Experts believe individuals having diabetes will increase 165% by 2050. If that occurs, one in three individuals born today will be affected by the disease!
If you are currently diagnosed with diabetes it is very important that you pay close attention to your lower limbs, especially your feet. See our website Diabetes Foot Care. Amputation rates can be reduced by as much as 85% by implementing a comprehensive foot care program that includes preventive care and encourages overall healthy habits.

If you are fortunate enough to be avoiding diabetic symptoms what can you do to minimize your longer term risks? You probably know the answers. Eat right, exercise, maintain a healthy weight, quit smoking, and de-stress.

Those lifestyle goals are pretty obvious and most of us know that we should be moving in the direction of balance and moderation.

However, for many of us when we hear the words balance and moderation, we are thinking more in terms of avoidance, discipline, and self sacrifice. The result is that we either don’t try or we begin laying the mental groundwork for failure.

When faced with making daily lifestyle decisions, perhaps a kinder and gentler approach would be to ask ourselves the following questions:

1)  Is what I’m about to do really something that I enjoy?
2)  Is it possible for me to limit (even if it’s just a little of) what I know isn’t  particularly healthy for me?
3)  Have I created a realistic picture of where I’d like to be health wise?
4)  Am I heading in the right direction?
5)  What is it that I need to be conscious of, to create a happier and healthier life for myself?

Taking a few moments to paint a backdrop for the daily decisions we need to make can ultimately lead to a better understanding of our choices and their potential outcomes.

Peace & Energy, Team Green


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