News | May 19, 2008

Wound Care Experts Issue Pressure Ulcer Prevention Consensus in Reaction to CMS Ruling

May 20, 2008 - Medline Industries Inc. and the International Expert Wound Care Advisory Panel last week issued the panel’s first consensus paper, “New Opportunities to Improve Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Treatment: Implications of the CMS Inpatient Hospital Care Present on Admission (POA) Indicators/Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HAC) Policy.”

Beginning Oct. 1, 2008, hospitals will not receive additional reimbursement to care for patients who have acquired pressure ulcers while under hospital care. This is one component of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) new policy of not reimbursing at a higher diagnostic category for eight adverse events that have been identified by the CMS as preventable. It was concern over the new policy’s impact on pressure ulcer care that prompted Medline to gather eight wound care thought leaders together to identify strategies for improving pressure ulcer prevention and care.

Pressure ulcers are an enormous concern to the healthcare industry. In 2007, CMS reported 257,412 cases of preventable pressure ulcers as a secondary diagnosis. The average cost per case in which pressure ulcers were listed as a secondary diagnosis is estimated to be $43,180 per hospital stay. In addition, it is estimated that 60,000 patients die each year as a result of pressure ulcer complications.

The International Expert Wound Care Advisory Panel consensus paper aims to help facilities put the new CMS policy into perspective and understand the actions that need to be taken to be ready for the new policy. It outlines four preventive strategies and two behavioral challenges facilities might face in strengthening their pressure ulcer prevention measures.

Additionally, the International Expert Wound Care Advisory Panel calls for professionals from all arms of healthcare to band together with the common goal of reducing the incidence of preventable pressure ulcers. As the paper concludes, “We must not forget that interprofessional collaboration right now is not just a professional nicety -- at this point, it is a matter of economic survival.”

The consensus paper was supported by a grant from Medline. To download a copy of the paper, go to www.medline.com.

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