3DPO Visits Military City, USA for Coding

3DPO certainly loves to travel, and never misses an opportunity to attend an event, or a class, or a seminar if offered the opportunity.  His most recent trip was to join Jamie Dean, Patient Services Representative, and Robert Tyler, CP for a session of the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association’s Coding and Billing Seminar in San Antonio, TX. 

Dankmeyer staff regularly attend events to see what’s new in the field and make sure we are up to date on what is expected of us as providers of care to our patients. This seminar specifically dealt with medical coding and billing, which is how we tell insurance companies what we have provided to a patient so we can be reimbursed accordingly.   This would be a review class for 3DPO, as he had previously attended this seminar with Mark Treasure and Amy Smith.

Coding is the kind of thing that prosthetists, orthotists, patient services coordinators, and billing staff have to be familiar with!  Dankmeyer takes a great deal of care to be both accurate and prompt when filing claims.  This book from the seminar can be a very handy reference if there are any questions.  On top of that, codes are also listed on the Delivery Receipt that a patient signs when they get their device.  The code, the description of the code and the quantity received are all listed.  (There is a Q&A about the Delivery Receipt you can read by clicking here.)

Did you know, that a single prosthesis might have as little as one code and as many as 20 codes in order to file a claim for the patient?  

For Instance, a partial foot prosthesis could have just one Lcode:

L5000     Partial foot, shoe insert with longitudinal arch, toe filler.

Whereas a prosthesis with a Multiprocessor Knee could have as many as 20 codes!

There was time at lunch or after the day's classes were over to do a little sightseeing.  San Antonio is called Military City, USA because it has one of the nation's largest active and retired military populations.  In fact, Brooke Army Medical Center, or BAMC as it is known, is located in San Antonio and is the home of the Center for the Intrepid.  Opened in 2007 with over $62 million dollars in private funding, it is a rehab hub for troops recovering from burns, amputations and other serious injuries.  

The city is also very well known for the Riverwalk along the San Antonio River. The annual Fiesta River Parade is held during Fiesta - an annual two week celebration that ended the day before the seminar began, much to 3DPO's regret.  

And, of course, they had to make the trek to the most famous of all San Antonio destinations - The Alamo.  3DPO and Jamie visited the Alamo, which was founded in the 18th century as a mission and fortress.  It is currently a World Heritage Site, and is most well known as the site for the Battle of the Alamo, fought in 1836.  The battle was part of Texas' war for independence from Mexico when Texas became the Republic of Texas.  a little less than ten years later, Texas became the 28th US state.  

3DPO enjoyed his short visit to San Antonio and would like to return when he can participate in Fiesta!  


3DPO Learns about IT and Office Equipment

3DPO has spent the bulk of his time performing tasks related to behind the scenes functions in the Fabrication Lab, or helping to clean and sweep, or even the random construction project.  He has blogged about all of these before.  He had also been on some field trips with various Dankmeyer staff members when they went away to attend various classes.  It wasn't long ago he asked for some information on the Check In station and everything involved in that.

Not office equipment.

He was helping to deliver packages to Nancy Lee, System Administrator, when he realized how little he knew about equipment that wasn't in the Lab.  He was very familiar with screwdrivers and such - he even kept his own set of tools in the back - but he really didn't know a lot about all the other equipment everyone else used.  Other than helping Adrienne use the coffee machine one day, taking his turn at kitchen refrigerator cleanup, and helping Heather vacuum at the Cumberland Office, he wasn't familiar with other office equipment.

When he asked, Nancy advised him that those items weren't really considered office equipment.  What he wanted to know more about were the kinds of things that were in every medical provider's office - computers, and phones, copiers, scanners, the display board in the waiting area, signature pads and those kinds of things.  These were tools that didn't build things - they were all more like organizing and documenting tools, and communication devices. But my goodness the things everyone did with them!  The IT team was responsible for installing and maintaining much of this equipment and the software that went with it in some cases.

But Nancy and Becky (Snell, IT & Marketing Director), also performed support roles in addition to traditional IT tasks.  Training users in using different kinds of software, creating forms and collecting data, creating material for the display board, flyers, name badges, assembling the Dankmeyer newsletters, website content and social media (along with one of 3DPO's favorite people and mentor, Art Ross), were just a few things they did.  Nancy took some time to give him an office equipment tour - just to see how he sized up compared to it all.  Needless to say, in most cases, he was a "bit" smaller than most of it. Becky and Nancy explained that was a pun - because a bit is a computer term for the smallest unit of data used in computers and digital communications.  3DPO remembered a line from one of his favorite TV characters, to which he had a passing resemblance, the robot from Lost in Space - That does not compute!  But, really, the whole bit did if you thought about it.

3DPO Lights! Camera! Action!

Last month, on a very breezy cold morning, 3DPO joined other Dankmeyer staff members to appear on a very early morning TV show - outside!  It was his first film experience. And it was exhilarating, or maybe it was just cold.  Dankmeyer staff met early to be on the Manic Monday show on Baltimore's WJZ.  Hosted by Ron Matz, WJZ is the local CBS affiliate which features local businesses on this Monday morning session.  

3DPO did the TV show while perched on Art Ross's shoulder, so he could get a good view.

Before the event, Dankmeyer rehearsed the lyrics supplied by Adrienne Castle, Patient Services Coordinator.  Adrienne had organized the appearance, and wanted everyone to be well prepared.  Adrienne graciously allowed 3DPO to take the microphone and lead rehearsal in the office.  

You can click here to see the video on the WJZ website.

After the event, the Dankmeyer team went to warm up and have a great breakfast at Jimmy's Restaurant. 3DPO took a microphone to entertain everyone with his own rendition of Manic Monday and other songs soon followed.  

3DPO has spent some time listening to music and singing in the shower since that Monday, and finds that he likes performance.  Since he has a nice cowboy hat, he thinks that Country and Western might be his calling and is considering talking to Cumberland office practitioner Mark Treasure about a recording session.  Mark writes this month about his own music in the website blog about Dankmeyer staff members who are out In the Community. Since Mark has some mobile recording equipment, he could bring it into the Baltimore office when he comes for his next visit and make a CD.  3DPO would invite Mark to be a guest artist, and of course all the Dankmeyer staff could do their cover of the Bangles' Manic Monday for old times sake!

3DPO wonders what it would be like to appear on stage with a live audience.  While the Dankmeyer staff is, of course, live - they are friends who will applaud even if he couldn't sing a note, because that is what friends do!  Maybe he could organize a talent show, because in addition to Mark, other Dankmeyer staff members can play music, or dance, or sing, or act!  Maybe they could form a band!  

Just in case a CD with Mark and his new band could lead to big things, 3DPO has his sunglasses ready for the glare of the studio lights.  Though, after windshield sledding during a First Day of Spring snowstorm, he hopes that they will be more immediately useful on sunny spring days.

(3DPO would like to personally thank Art Ross, Fabrication Technician, for his makeup, props, and costumes.)

3DPO Celebrates .... A Lot of Holidays to Celebrate!

3DPO really enjoyed the Winter Olympics. It started with the pageantry of the Opening Ceremonies.  Sometimes athletes would wrap themselves up in the flag of their country like a blanket, and everyone would cheer!  3DPO wondered what that felt like, so Jed Newhardt, CPO and Art Ross, Fabrication Tech found some flag like material that was for laminations so 3DPO could try it.  He considered there were actually holidays for celebrating with the flag.

There were holidays almost every month - with the exception of August, which didn't seem to have any!  He understood some holidays were to recognize historical figures.  Martin Luther King Day (1/15/2018) and Presidents Day (2/19/2018) did that.  There were other days about people - Columbus Day (10/8/2018) and Valentine's Day (2/14/2018). St. Patrick's Day (3/17/2018) was quite exciting to him as everyone and everything was green.  3DPO was always prepared, so no one could pinch him for not wearing green!

There were religious observances: Christmas Day (12/25/2018), Hanukkah (begins 12/2/2018), Passover (begins 3/30/2018), Easter (4/1/2018), Ramadan (begins 5/15/18), and surprisingly, Halloween (10/31/2018).  He knew there were many others, so he Googled "religious holidays" and found a list.  He had helped Heather Iman at the Cumberland office decorate for Christmas - but there were so many different celebrations to read about!  

Mardi Gras (2/13/18), the day before Ash Wednesday, seemed to be an enormous party day - specifically in New Orleans.  Nina Bondre, CPO and Kelsey Kasten, CPO had attended a P&O symposium in New Orleans that week and probably could tell him more about that.  "Mardi Gras" is French for "Fat Tuesday" and many people wore bead necklaces and masks as part of the celebration. He had a mask like that.

He thought about the nice notices that Nancy Lee, System Administrator, created to post on the Dankmeyer website and Facebook and the display board at the Linthicum office.  These included Mother's Day (5/13/2018) and Father's Day (6/17/2018).  Labor Day (9/3/2018) was a another day that offices were closed.  Thanksgiving (11/22/2018), which some people called Turkey Day, was a time Dankmeyer was closed for TWO days.

Days related to the change of time and seasons were on the calendar.  There was one called Groundhog Day (2/2/2018) when a groundhog predicts how much longer winter will last.  Imagine that! The biggest "time" day was New Year's Day - the first day of the year.  That was a day off from work, as the night before was marked with a lot of parties and particularly fireworks at midnight keeping everyone up late. 

Fireworks seemed to figure prominently on the Fourth of July.  Parades, costumes, fireworks, special foods - and definitely the flag, were all a big part of the day that marked the day the USA was born!  Flag Day (6/14/2018) was all about the flag itself. Other solemn days such as Memorial Day (5/28/2018), Veterans Day (11/11/2018), Armed Services Day (5/19/2018) and Pearl Harbor Day (12/7/2018) had parades and the flag was displayed in many different ways.

He knew people celebrated their own special days not on his printed calendar. One was Major League Baseball Opening Day - because everyone at Dankmeyer was a Baltimore Orioles fan, and they would probably dress up to support the team.  That was 3/29/2018 this year - the earliest Opening Day ever.  National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day was going to be 5/15/2018  and even more important than that was Take Your Dog to Work Day on 6/23/2018.  Jamie Dean, Patient Services Representative was sure to bring 3DPO's and Digit's friend Fathom, a therapy dog, to Dankmeyer on that day. Fathom visited the office every third Friday of the month.

There were also "snow days", which were pretty random and weather related, when children got a holiday from school.  And of course, everyone had their personal holiday just for them and that was their Birth Day!  That one had decorations, cake, presents and mini-fireworks!  Well, candles anyway.  Last, but not least, 3DPO considered the upcoming 4/1/2018 - April Fool's Day.  That was not really a holiday - no one was closed and there weren't parades or flags, or special food or people or even a historical event.  It was just a day about playing tricks on people.  3DPO thought he had some time to plan a trick he could play on Dankmeyer people.  They knew him so well, but he might be able to get away with coming to work disguised as someone else so they wouldn't recognize him.  This would require careful consideration, but he thought it might work!




3DPO Gets Fit

After the first of the new year, a group of Dankmeyer employees decided to get together and work out a fitness plan.  They divided into teams and devised a plan to report their progress weekly, with weigh-ins and exercise plans.  They figured that by working in teams, they could encourage each other and have a little "healthy" competition.  They also went back to joining in the Dankmeyer Plank Challenge, where at intervals thought the day, employees who could take a tiny break would gather and do some planks.  He observed the first time and thought it looked like fun, so he joined in! It was hard work.

After some consideration, he asked if he could spend some time rotating through the teams just to see what form the different exercise and nutrition plans were taking.  He had observed that this tradition of focusing on fitness at the new year seemed to be pretty common, and if his friends and co-workers were going to do it, he wanted to cheer them on.

He first was invited to go on a hike with Adrienne Castle, Patient Services Coordinator.  Adrienne likes to hike with her family and so they set out to explore Patapsco State Park. It was a little chilly and damp, but they made their way along some old railroad tracks and got some good steps logged for Adrienne.  Adrienne explained that at other times of year when the weather was more pleasant the hiking trails would be more crowded AND there would maybe be some mosquitos.

Also on Adrienne's team was Barbara Delorenzo, Director of Accounting.  Barbara took 3DPO along to her gym one morning.  There he got a good look at all of the devices that people used to work up a sweat (or so it seemed to him.) There were treadmills and elliptical machines, and rowing machines and bicycles.  Everyone seemed to be enjoying their work, and there was a lot of good music.  Barbara was kind enough to supply him with some of his own size weights, and then told him what the proper form was to use them.  Barbara also swims, but on this day they did not go into the pool.

Jamie Dean, Patient Services Representative, was on a different team.  She invited him to visit her at home one evening where she could introduce him to some yoga. This activity was good to stretch the muscles and improve flexibility and coordination and balance.  It did seem to require some concentration.  You did your work on a mat to provide a comfortable surface to work on, and sometimes you stood (sometimes on one leg), and sometimes sat, sometimes kneeled and Jamie twisted her body around in all kinds of ways that 3DPO couldn't do, or at least imagine himself doing.  She also did some balancing exercises, and had a jumprope.  Using that jumprope could really get her heart rate going!

Then 3DPO learned that Becky Snell, Director of IT and Marketing, had recently been out of town to run in some races and brought home some hard earned medals.  Her favorite form of exercise was running, using a walk/run interval method.  She was recovering from some hard races and so was limiting her recovery exercise to some walking and stretching but promised to have him over next month when she started training again.  He had seen runners and walkers and wheelchair participants at a run last year when he and Digit had gone to an event with some Dankmeyer clinicians, so he had a good idea what she had been up to.

Each team had team members working on nutrition.  Abi Ostrander, Patient Services Representative, was having him over for the weekend so he could learn about nutrition and food preparation.  Abi liked to prepare meals in advance to make it easy to bring healthy and nutritious meals for lunch at work.  As soon as he gets back, he will post pictures from that experience.

Everyone seemed devoted to helping their teammates succeed in reaching their goals.  It was very nice to know that Becky and her teammate Heather Iman, Patient Services Representative at the Cumberland office (3DPO had just spent some time in that office, so her knew Heather well), gave each other a pep talk regularly on the phone.  Since they worked in different offices they didn't see each other every day, but still cheered each other on.  In fact, while all the different teams teased each other in good nature about their progress, they all wanted everyone to succeed!  And teamwork is good for everyone!


3DPO and a Cumberland Office Holiday

3DPO has continued to enjoy his time at the Cumberland office.  Since he last wrote about helping Heather Iman get the office extra specially clean for the holidays, he helped her decorate.  He found himself strangely fascinated with Santa's hat.  Even though Santa did not look particularly amused, 3DPO wore it a lot, along with his new bright yellow work pants.  He did think that perhaps if his pants were red, he would look more holiday like, and perhaps even mistaken for an elf!  As long as no one thought he was that green guy the Grinch, it would be ok.  

Once the office was all decorated, though, he did have to get serious and do some work with Mark Treasure in the shop.  3DPO got some practice mixing up plaster so that he could help Mark modify a cast.  He had to mix it up in small batches, but they used that cupful to add some plaster in some different areas to build up the cast.  After it was dry, Mark showed him how to smooth and shape the rough plaster. It had to be just right so that it could be laminated.  

Another thing he learned to do was to use the sewing machine to sew some velcro straps for an orthosis.  He learned to thread the sewing machine and once the velcro was measured and cut he could do the sewing.  Though, he did have a tendency to get caught up in the velcro and had to be rescued once.  He knew that practice makes perfect, and he did want his work to be perfect.  After all, he wanted to be on the Nice List!  

A few evenings after work, he got with friends and watched some TV and sang some holiday songs.  Mark, who plays the guitar, accompanied him several times.  Digit even had a play date with a friend and they watched some classic holiday animated shows.  3DPO thought perhaps his time in the western Maryland mountains had been just about perfect, if only he could see some snow.....

3DPO Cleans up in Cumberland

After spending so much time at the Baltimore (Linthicum) office, and attending a number of Coffee with Dankmeyer functions at the Sinai office, Heather Iman, Cumberland's Patient Services Representative, asked if 3DPO could make a trip there to lend her a helping hand!  As we know, 3DPO never passes up an opportunity to travel.  Heather warned him that they would be spending some time doing a little extra housecleaning before she decorates the office for the holidays. Mark Treasure, Cumberland's Prosthetist Orthotist, promised that he would give 3DPO a chance to work in the shop, and they both wanted him to meet some patients while he was there.  With that in mind, he made the trip from Baltimore to Cumberland in Western Maryland.

The Cumberland office is the oldest of the offices outside of Baltimore.  Nestled in a valley in the Appalachian Mountains, Cumberland was founded in 1787, and built on the site of the old Fort Cumberland.  After Charles Herbert “Herb” Dankmeyer started Dankmeyer in 1954, doctors and therapists in Cumberland asked him to service patients in Cumberland at the hospital there.  He would take everything back to Baltimore for completion, because there was no local Orthotics & Prosthetics facility.  If patients didn’t see Herb, they would have to travel to Pittsburgh or Baltimore for their needs.  Dankmeyer started seeing patients in rental space instead of the hospital, and in 1980 purchased a former veterinary office building in La Vale on National Highway.  This is where 3DPO was headed.

Heather was ready for him and made him feel welcome on his first visit.  Cleaning supplies were already organized and after a brief tour they set about putting an extra shine on the office space.  3DPO had experience cleaning the shop in the Baltimore office, so he knew what to do.  They worked together and took a coffee break and then Heather showed him some of the office equipment she uses - answering the phone, signing in patients, and faxing paperwork.  Before long it was time for lunch and they went out to grab something quick since Heather hadn't brought her lunch that day.  Mark kept an eye on the phones while they were out.  

After lunch, 3DPO headed to the fabrication area to do some restocking and to see what Mark was doing.  Mark was working on a cast, and 3DPO wanted to help.  Mark thought it best for him to observe first, and he could take a more active role when he had more experience.  After all, that is what an intern does, right?  There is a lot of equipment to try his hand at - sewing on velcro, putting in rivets, tagging devices, some trimming and filing and using plaster and goop (officially known as resin.)  

He was happy to agree to hang around for an extended visit so that he could be more directly involved in hands on fabrication techniques - though perhaps he took that a little too literally.  After all, Halloween was over and no one was going to mistake him for a bat.  He was much too green.  Mark promised that they would take more pictures and he and 3DPO could write a followup blog, that would be both educational and entertaining.

Over the next several days, 3DPO was very fortunate to have his picture taken with several willing patients, some of whom had written patient stories for the website.  He felt like a real celebrity.  

3DPO Intern Checks Out Check In

Coming in the front door for the first time into a medical facility can be very intimidating, particularly to someone who is barely taller than the threshold.  Despite this, when Dankmeyer intern 3DPO took his first self guided tour of the Dankmeyer Linthicum office front entrance and waiting area, he was impressed by how easy it was to negotiate the entrance.  Both the outer and inner doors have assist devices to make it easy if a visitor is in a wheelchair to get in and out. With his small stature and short stride, he thought it might take a moment to be noticed,  but no sooner was he inside the door in the waiting area, than he was greeted by the smiling face of Jamie Dean, Patient Services Representative, at the check in window.

He had hoped to surprise whoever was at the front desk, actually.  He was exploring this space early morning one day a week before Halloween, before anyone else had arrived.  As soon as he was inside, he put on his Halloween disguise - a Mardi Gras mask! But, she recognized him right away (what gave him away, he wondered?) and greeted him by name.  She was eager to show him how the check in process worked.  With some assistance from Jamie, he was able to view the sign in sheet (with HIPAA protections), and she let him test the electronic signature pad. It wasn't often he was asked for his autograph. She told him she was very willing to come out into the waiting area to assist anyone who needed extra help with either of these functions.

If he had been an actual patient, instead of an intern exploring his workplace, his practitioner would have been told he was there and then he could have taken a seat for a brief wait before going back to a patient room. Jamie advised that while they are waiting, patients are asked to review their important information for accuracy.  New patients have the opportunity to get this paperwork from the website before their first visit. They can get the form to fill out and bring with them.  (Click here to see the form.)

He did note a play area for children, where he would have felt very at home.  He could have ridden the train or colored a picture that would be displayed in the foyer.  There was also some interesting reading material and a mesmerizing display board with all kinds of fun facts! (Most of his coworkers don't know that he secretly loves trivia games.) And, as it was the week before Halloween, there was even a contest for patients to guess how many candy corns were in a jar!

On that day, Jamie was the one to greet him at check in.  Sometimes, it is Abi Ostrander manning the front desk. Jamie and Abi are both part of the Patient Services team.  As Patient Representatives, they work very hard to make the visitor feel welcome and comfortable on every visit. He knows that visitors can expect the same welcome and procedure at the Easton office, where Moranda Ostrander is at check in (yes - Abi's sister), or Cumberland and Heather Iman, or the Sinai Hospital office where Jeanne Smith is on duty.  (For information on each Dankmeyer location, you can visit the Locations page on the website.)

Since Jamie needed to turn her attention to the first patient for the day, it was time for him to wrap up his investigation and check in with his supervisor for his first assignment. He waved to Jamie, and smiled at the patient, who smiled back!  Since smiling faces seem to be the norm around here, 3DPO felt very much at home - as this is his natural expression.  He was excited to see what other discoveries were waiting for him that day.

3D-Too Takes His Own Field Trip

Perhaps you  have not been formally introduced to 3D-Too. Though he doesn’t officially work for Dankmeyer he can be found hanging out with his cousin 3DPO, our diminutive intern, on a fairly regular basis. He loves to lend a helping hand whenever he can.  He came in during the summer to help with the exam space makeover.

His full time job is with a company that tests new prosthetic components. In his current configuration he is trying out a carbon-fiber running leg, but he also has tested a below-the-elbow myoelectric arm. Earlier this year he helped with the development of a new swim leg. He is very good at testing things for endurance because he can grab a fresh set of batteries and keep going where a human tester might tire and need to rest. 

After all the coming and going of both 3DPO and Digit on various field trips, he welcomed the invitation to attend the annual meeting of the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association with members of the Dankmeyer management team.  He was personally escorted by Barbara Delorenzo, Accounting Manager.  As an amputee, 3D-Too was very interested in attending any number of events and classes at the AOPA meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada the first week of September.  Some classes were business oriented, some were product oriented (of a particular interest), there are papers presented, and many medical issues discussed as pertaining to both orthosis and prosthesis wearers.  There was such to see and do.

On top of all that, it was the 100th anniversary for AOPA, and it was a World Congress, which meant professional attendees from all over the world, working together to share knowledge and further the cause for P&O professionals and wearers the world over.  He met attendees from Australia, Japan, South Korea, India, Mexico, Canada, and many other countries.  And there were some old friends of Dankmeyer, former employees that had moved out of the Maryland area, but were happy to reunite with Dankmeyer folks. (From L to R: Our Angie Bryl, CPO with Jennifer Richards, CPO who was with Dankmeyer for five years; Joe Delorenzo CP with Marcia Davis, CO who was with Dankmeyer for four years, and Barbara Delorenzo; Walter Afable, CPO who was with Dankmeyer for 3 years with our Mark Hopkins, CPO, PT, MBA.)

When he was not in a class, 3D-Too spent a lot of time on the exhibit floor, reviewing different products available to P&O practices world wide.  There are so many increasingly high tech products and materials available for prosthesis and orthosis fabrication!  In fact, there was so much to see and do that he became separated from Barbara and missed his flight home.  After taking in a show and enjoying a few nice dinners with other attendees, he spent some time with Joe McTernan, AOPA's Director of Coding and Reimbursement Services, Education, and Programming at the AOPA booth.  Once the exhibit was over, he first hitched a ride with the packed booth materials and was shipped on a pallet to AOPA in Virginia.  Then, the AOPA staff kindly sent him home via UPS.  He was happy to have attended, but happy to be back with his Dankmeyer friends.

3DPO Learns About Medicare Coding

3DPO recently traveled to Pittsburgh, PA to attend the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association’s Coding and Billing Seminar. He made the journey with Amy Smith, Executive Assistant, and they met Mark Treasure, CP, BOCO at the event. Mark had driven up from the Cumberland office.  3DPO asked Amy to stop several times on the journey as he had not been to the area before and wanted to take in some sights.

Dankmeyer staff regularly attend events to see what’s new in the field and make sure we are up to date on what is expected of us as providers of care to our patients. The seminar specifically dealt with medical coding and billing, which is how we tell insurance companies what we have provided to a patient so we can be reimbursed accordingly. 

The night before the seminar started, 3DPO went over the itinerary for the day to make sure he was prepared. He made sure to set the alarm and went to bed early to be rested for a day of learning. These events are still new to him so he likes to be at his best when he is learning new things and meeting new people.

His first day at the seminar was a busy one. He saw lots of new faces and took notes full of good information to take back to Dankmeyer like the great intern he is! In the afternoon, he was able to attend a small group session of practitioners and see several types of knee and ankle braces while the group discussed how each was constructed and would be explained to the patient’s insurance company using medical codes.  3DPO enjoyed seeing braces in styles and shapes he had never seen before. Most of them much larger than he was, so Mark and Amy helped him hold them.

That evening, with so much learned, he was excited for the second and final day. To recharge before bed, he took time out before bed to review the Baltimore Ravens schedule for the season to see when they would be playing the Pittsburgh Steelers.

As the group reviewed policies for Medicare beneficiaries, he took notes to get further information and ask questions. Speakers from several companies and AOPA itself spoke for most of the day on policy and how it can be ever changing as technology evolves. 3DPO, Amy, and Mark compared notes on what each had learned that day.

Sadly this was only a two day event and at the end of the day, Amy and 3DPO readied to travel back to Baltimore and Mark made his way back to Cumberland, MD.  As Amy and 3DPO waited for Amy’s car, he noted a 3D printed bench, he was so very excited. As the journey would be a long drive, he offered to drive part of the way, but as he was unable to do so safely, he instead held onto the ticket for the Pennsylvania Turnpike, a very important job!

Once back in the office, he was happy to have and share this new information and see how it applied to his job and understand how everyone’s job fits together to make sure we take the best care of our patients.



3DPO Sends Digit With Kristin on Vacation

Digit with Kristin.

Ready for action.

Look at all those pink shirts on the bridge!

The view of downtown Nashville from the bridge.

Digit met a three-legged dog on the walk.

Digit, 3DPO’s therapy dog-in-training, went with 3DPO on a field trip in April with Dankmeyer staff members to the Adventist 5K Walk, Wheel, Run.  That was Digit’s first experience at an event outside the Dankmeyer office, and when an opportunity came to accompany Kristin Boswell, Director of Patient Services and Billing, out of town, he jumped at the chance! 

He said goodbye to 3DPO, put on his blanket and departed with Kristin and her husband Richard, to Nashville, TN.  As part of their holiday, they were going to participate in a dog walk!

Before the big day, Kristin and Richard picked up their special event pink T shirts to wear.  When they arrived at the event on July 8, 2017, Digit was quite surprised at what he saw!  Over 1,000 people and dogs were ready to walk in the Inaugural MuttNation March, including Digit, Richard, & Kristin.  It was all to raise awareness and join the fight to end animal homelessness, neglect, and cruelty. 

It was a mile walk from Nissan Stadium (home of the Titans NFL team, yuk) across the Cumberland River into downtown Nashville, finishing at Hall of Fame Park.  It was absolutely awesome to be a part of this walk.  Kristin explained how important it was to her to raise awareness for an issue that plagues our nation and is too often pushed aside.   

Miranda Lambert (a country singer Digit learned about on the flight over that Kristin likes), Miranda’s mom, and her MuttNation crew all participated in the walk.  She did a pretty emotional speech at the end of the walk expressing how much it meant to have so many people care about homeless animals and their desire to promote awareness of these situations.  Digit was so touched by her kind words, he couldn’t help but wag his tail (even though it doesn’t really move….it moved in spirit) along with all the other tails that were there. 

But it didn't end there!  Kristin and Richard also attended the County Music Association Festival that takes place every summer in Nashville.  The MuttNation Foundation brought 60 dogs with them to the CMA Fest that were up for adoption throughout the four day festival.  They had a booth set up in the exhibit hall where you could hold, pet, and play with the dogs. Needless to say, they visited this booth.  Kristin, who has Beagles at home, sooooo much wanted a Beagle they had for adoption, but he got adopted quickly by someone else!   

Ten dogs were adopted in the first HOUR!  42 dogs adopted in the first two days.  56 dogs adopted by 4pm Saturday and the last four adopted very quickly on Sunday!   In four days, they adopted out all 60 dogs to people across America & Canada!  How incredibly awesome!

It was a very fine vacation indeed, and Digit was happy for all of the dogs that went to their new homes from the event.  Digit thought how lucky he was to have 3DPO, and all of his friends at Dankmeyer to be his pack.  He was very happy that Kristin and Richard had invited him to this very educational event.

Here is a nice short story about the walk: http://www.nashcountrydaily.com/2017/06/12/miranda-lamberts-inaugural-muttnation-march-helps-60-shelter-dogs-find-new-homes/

Click on this link for more information about Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation Foundation.  Also, MuttNation can be found on Facebook & Instagram.   Instagram has a lot of pictures from the event, including the dogs and the wonderful families who adopted them.  

You can read more about Kristin's work with animal rescue in our Community Blog.

The finish line!

3DPO and the Dankmeyer Linthicum Construction Project

It is really hard for him to purse his lips to whistle, but 3DPO still likes the idea of whistling while he works, and work he must!  Since the end of April, the Dankmeyer patient exam room at the Linthicum office has been undergoing a makeover.  After being in the office space for over 20 years, it was decided to make some changes to better serve patients during evaluations, fittings and deliveries.  Opening up some space and including some new equipment was all part of the plan.  Fresh paint and new carpet would brighten up the place too!

Months before actually starting this project, there was a lot of planning.  The management team pulled out the plans from the original build out of the space and studied them closely.  They knew that they wanted to accomplish certain things - of course  keeping some rooms open and available to see patients.  There would be a bit of mess and noise during some parts of the project, and so System Administrator Nancy Lee prepared some clever signs that were posted in the office and on Facebook and the website. That way people coming into the office would know what was going on.  Before bringing in a demolition crew, Joe Delorenzo asked 3DPO to start by taking some “before” pictures - and he even got Joe in one of them!    

As an intern learning about all aspects of a prosthetics and orthotics practice, it is a good thing that 3DPO is pretty much interested in everything.  He had already been through safety training with Safety Office Matt Hierstetter, and he could volunteer some of his own tools.  He asked to experience first hand the demolition part.  On the day the demo crew got there, Dankmeyer provided a hard hat and he gathered his tools from Art’s desk (Art Ross, Fabrication Technician) where they were stored.  Leaving Digit behind in Art’s care, he went to meet the crew and see what he could do to help.

First, sheets of plastic were put up to provide some barrier between the construction and the rest of the space.  This would help limit any dust. 3DPO got to do some ladder work. Some cabinetry had to be removed and some of the furniture.   The carpet came out.  Some of the walls actually were knocked out!  

Then it was time for some drywall work.  At this point 3DPO’s cousin came in to help.  3D-Too helped to move some materials around, and before you know it, the work was done.  The painting came next, and instead of picking a lovely shade of green paint, they decided to stick with the same neutral color.  All of this didn’t take much time, but now they had to wait for the new carpet to come in.

Everyone at Dankmeyer had looked over the carpet samples to vote for their favorites.  3DPO had voted for something with green. The winner? Dress Smart Cozy Chic.  It sounds like a hug for your feet, right?   The carpet went in lickety-split and 3DPO and 3D-Too did a little celebration dance in the middle of the new space on the comfy new carpet.  There was some cleanup done and cabinets to put back, exam room curtains rehung, but things were almost finished.  And now, all that is left is for some new equipment to come in, and 3DPO can’t wait to see it.  He is looking forward to showing it all off to all the new patients, and when the next Amputee Walking School is held at Dankmeyer on June 21, 2017. 

Registration details for the next session of Amputee Walking School are available here.

3DPO Attends Adventist 5K Walk, Wheel or Run

3DPO was familiar with the old English proverb “April showers bring May flowers”, but on Saturday, April 22, 2017 he would have preferred sunny skies and a reasonable temperature for outdoor exercise.  The participants of the 2nd Annual Amputee Awareness 5K Walk, Wheel, or Run gathered that morning would probably have agreed with him!  Held by Adventist Healthcare, rain or shine, the free event was designed to raise awareness about amputees “one step at a time!”  Everyone gathered at Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, MD for the 11AM start where participants were going to tackle the track.  One loop around a track is a quarter of a mile, so a 5K (3.1 miles) would take 12 laps! 

3DPO hitched a ride with Dankmeyer clinical staff members Nina Bondre, Rob Tyler, and Kelsey Kasten.  They got to the event about an hour before the 5K was scheduled to start to set up a display table.  They brought a couple of demonstration prostheses and green and white Gatorade in a show of Dankmeyer color spirit! 

After the setup, 3DPO spent some time making new friends and introducing his therapy-dog-in-training, Digit, to everyone.  This was Digit’s first public appearance and he seemed to feel right at home, because there were many other dogs accompanying their owner participants.   For fun, 3DPO and Digit lined up before the start and took a few test laps to get warmed up to man the display table.

Dr. Andrew Rubin, one of Mark Hopkin’s and Rob’s patients, was there to participate.  He was anxious to use his new prosthesis on the track.  The prosthesis had just been delivered earlier in the week, and Dr. Rubin requested an adjustment to the alignment of his prosthesis.  Between 3DPO’s three practitioner companions, all the tools needed were at hand, and Rob fixed Dr. Rubin up in no time.  During the alignment process, 3DPO was able to get a good a good view from the top of the table of the transtibial (below knee) prosthesis, with an Ottobock Challenger foot.  He asked Dr. Rubin what was special about the particular foot on his prosthesis, and Dr. Rubin explained that the foot is designed for people who do higher level activities, such as running, as it provides good energy return and shock absorption.  Dr. Rubin revealed that he is a recent amputee - having had his surgery in September.  He was excited to return to jogging after a twelve-year absence. 

Further conversation revealed that Dr. Rubin is a regular attendee of the Amputee Walking School, and was going to put to good use some of the training and education he took away from those sessions.  3DPO excitedly told him that the next AWS in June would be held at Dankmeyer and that registration was already open! (For registration information, visit our Amputee Walking School page by clicking here.) Dr. Rubin assured 3DPO that he had already registered for the event and that they would see each other again in a few months.  

Luca Rubin

Digit was also very happy to spend some time getting acquainted with Dr. Rubin’s dog Luca, a Goldendoodle.  Luca was still a puppy, but a famous one!  Luca had his picture on the Dankmeyer Facebook page back in January after coming to an appointment with Dr. Rubin.  3DPO hoped that Luca would visit the office again so that Digit and Luca could have a play date, now that they were friends. 

At 11AM, it was time for the participants to begin walking/running/wheeling.  Many participants had amputations, and friends and family members joined them on the track.   A few people acted as wheelchair pushers, switching off every few laps to keep their participant moving around the track.  Many different groups and organizations were handing out water, Gatorade, bagels, bananas, and cupcakes.  People ran, jogged, walked, or wheeled around that track 12 times! While it did rain the entire time, everyone kept their spirits up and completed the race.  In addition to the 5K, fundraisers such as a 50/50 raffle were held, and winners were announced at the end of the 5K.  Proceeds were donated to the Amputee Patient Assistance Fund.  

Rob, Nina, Kelsey, 3DPO and Digit enjoyed supporting all the participants and made sure to pose for pictures with Dr. Rubin.  After a fun filled day, it was time to pack up and head home and dry off.  And time for some tired puppies to take a nap.

3DPO Goes to Coffee with Dankmeyer

As Dankmeyer has offices in four locations, 3DPO was very anxious to explore some of the other spaces so that he would know more about them.  He was offered the opportunity to go to the Sinai office to help with setup for an event they were hosting there.  The Dankmeyer Sinai office is located on the Sinai hospital campus in the Morton Mower Medical Building.  He made a quick ride over on the morning of March 29, 2017 with Practice Liaison Toni Robinson.  On the way, they made a stop to pick up some of the treats that would be served at this social event, which is named “Coffee with Dankmeyer”. 

This Coffee was started a few years ago to create a relaxed environment where professionals who worked at Sinai could drop in, share a coffee and a snack and get to know more about Dankmeyer and its services.  Sheryl Nathanson, CPO, is on hand along with Toni and Patient Services Representative Jeanne Smith to answer questions and provide reference materials.  There are some demonstration devices placed around the waiting room on display as well.

3DPO was happy to help arrange the table with bottled water, snacks and of course, coffee!  Guests may bring their own coffee cups, but Dankmeyer has some very special custom mugs for these occasions.  There are a few take aways for those interested - like Dankmeyer calendars.  Today, the Dankmeyer hosts were providing a very special sweet treat - Rita’s Italian Ice.  3DPO was very interested in learning more about this employee favorite, if there was any left after the gathering.

He was honored to personally great guests at the table, eagerly waving a windmill to celebrate.  A few of the guests were so happy to meet him that they posed for a picture at his request!  Toni and Sheryl served up the Rita’s and engaged in witty conversation with everyone who came in to pass some time.  3DPO was so proud to help, and when all was said and done, he did get to sample the Rita’s.  Sadly, there was not enough left to take back to the main office and share with others.  After they cleaned up the office, Sheryl showed him some of the pictures from previous coffees. There was one for Mardi Gras a year ago, one for summer fun and another one at Halloween.  Those guys were really good a decorating!

But maybe most exciting was the news that was shared with guests, that there was going to be a really BIG event this summer at the Dankmeyer main office, and they were all invited!  3DPO would be part of the team to get the event off the ground.  The next Amputee Walking School, on June 21, 2017, was going to be held at Dankmeyer for a change of pace, and there was also going to be new course material for the professional education part.  One of the guests happily accepted a flyer on the event when 3DPO offered it to her.  This was going to be even bigger than the Coffee with Dankmeyer!  3DPO wondered if they would serve Rita’s.  He planned to suggest it at a planning meeting.

For more details about the summer session of the Amputee Walking School, click here.


3DPO's American Academy of O&P Field Trip

Despite his best intentions to report weekly, time got away from 3DPO over the last three weeks.  Time and the excitement of his first field trip!  3DPO was very excited he was able to attend the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists annual meeting in Chicago!

Interns don’t usually get to attend such prestigious events, but he was given the opportunity to learn a LOT about prosthetics and orthotics in a very intensive effort.  He was chaperoned by Kristen Beltran, Resident Prosthetist Orthotist, and Sheryl Nathanson, CPO, and Nina Bondre, Board Eligible Prosthetist Orthotist. Nina let him hitch a ride in her bag as they moved around the meeting space.

The focus of the meeting was on sharing clinical knowledge about prosthetics and orthotics, as well as networking with other professionals in the field. He studied the meeting materials in order to find the best lectures and demonstrations.  Some of these were lectures about new products in the field and others about current research. For instance, why do some patients use their orthoses more than others? He asked one of his mentors to explain this to him. Nina explained that one of the most important factors in a successful outcome is encouraging communication between the patient and practitioner. The more aligned expectations are on both sides, the better the outcome for the patient.

After a nutritious snack, 3DPO learned about some of the new components being used in P&O, including the Becker Triple Action ankle joint (just his size.) He learned all about the Gomez Scoliosis System and how he could better assess patients with scoliosis. His favorite prosthetic component on display was a myoelectric hand that operates based on a patient's muscle contractions and nerve signals. His favorite lecture was about how a patient's sense of balance and position in space affects confidence in mobility. Given his square body and inability to have a sense of balance, 3DPO was intrigued by this topic. He questioned Nina closely. She explained that it is fairly easy and quick to incorporate new techniques to assess someone's balance when evaluating for a prosthesis, for example. Patients who have a better ability to sense their body in space tend to have an easier time walking and feeling confident while doing so. 

3DPO had a great time in Chicago learning about the business he will be working so hard in.  He loved meeting new friends and teachers.  And he enjoyed some new flavors while he was there. A guy has to eat some time!  Now back home, 3DPO is looking forward to helping the staff at Dankmeyer continue to provide exceptional patient care.

Welcome 3DPO - Dankmeyer 3D Intern

3DPO is the newest intern at Dankmeyer, Inc. His history with the company began in 2015 as an experiment in 3-D printing with the newly acquired 3D printer (pictured here.) 

His predecessors 1DPO and 2DPO proved to be less than useful, in that their only noticeable skill was pencil holding. With his solid stance and jointed arms 3DPO has proven himself more flexible in his assignments. He may be a little green but is more than willing to help around the office any way he can. His keen wit and ready smile make him fun to be around.

Standing in at 5.5 inches "D", as his friends call him, is very good at paying attention to details. He is especially good at finding tiny things that have been dropped on the floor.

Outside of work he enjoys short walks, looking up at flowers and moving pebbles. His favorite movies are I Robot, Robocop, Wall-E, Short Circuit, and The Wizard of Oz. "D" is also considering adopting a robotic therapy dog if he can find one his size. He has read a lot about service dogs on the website, and would love to train one!

As he learns more about Dankmeyer and his Dankmeyer teammates, he will share those adventures here.  His weekly contribution should engage, enlighten, and intrigue anyone interested in what goes on beyond patient care in Prosthetics and Orthotics.  He will be assisted by Dankmeyer staff in preparing photos and videos to share as he goes about his intern duties.

Welcome, 3DPO!