Medicare Spending Per Beneficiary as a Measure of Hospital Performance to be Highlighted During the Inaugural Meeting of the American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair

June 17, 2011

Pressure Ulcers Account for $3.2 Billion Annually in Medical Error Costs

CHICAGO, June 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following is being released today by American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair:

WHAT: “Patient Safety, Pressure Ulcers and Beyond: the Wound Care Clinician as Safety and Quality Champion.”

WHO: Timothy McDonald, MD, JD, Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics, University of Illinois at Chicago; Chief Safety and Risk Officer for Health Affairs for the University of Illinois.

WHY: Medicare has announced it will soon begin tracking spending per beneficiary as a new measure of hospital performance. Hospitals could potentially be liable for not only the spending that occurs within the building but for the utilization of services on discharge for 90 days.(1) Medicare pays a disproportionate amount over 90 days compared to other payors when a potentially preventable adverse event occurs. Thus, the goal of this measure is to enhance the efficiency of the entire health system by fostering communication and coordination of care across the continuum in order to improve care and reduce costs. Reactions from health care providers and hospital associations have been mixed, but all agree specific definitions and more detail are required prior to implementation. Concerns have been raised from University-based teaching hospitals that fear caring for sicker patients with more complex conditions will penalize them under this system.

Wound care clinicians are on the front lines for managing many such adverse events and have already felt the impact of this policy on inpatient wound care prevention measures, monitoring efforts and treatment plans of care. The important role for wound care clinicians is illustrated by the fact that pressure ulcers account for some $3.2 billion of the total $17.1 billion annual cost of medical errors.(2) As pressure ulcers are now directly tied to patient safety, collaboration between both patient safety and wound care teams is becoming increasingly important.

Hospitals have increased surveillance and ensured accurate documentation of a patient’s skin condition on admission. When a wound is labeled “present on admission” a hospital is able to include charges for the treatment of the condition and the wound is not considered a quality issue but a surrogate marker for a medically complex patient. With the proposed new payment plan, the “present on admission wound,” now takes on a new level of importance in that should the wound worsen during the hospital stay and require readmission or costly outpatient therapy, then the hospital would in fact incur a higher cost per beneficiary. Accordingly, this new economic model should help to refocus attention of the clinical community on all pressure ulcers found on the hospital units and encourage a multidisciplinary, coordinated care plan initiative.

WHERE: The University of Illinois at Chicago during the inaugural meeting of the American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair.

WHEN: Thursday, August 4th, 2011, 4:30-5:00 p.m.

CONTACT: Julie Vissers, registrations@wellassembled.com

About The American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair

The wound care industry is changing and the need for formal specialization is increasingly important. The American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing the leadership and education for the wound care clinicians of the future.

Its inaugural meeting will be held at the University of Illinois at Chicago on August 4th and 5th, 2011. This milestone event will address the need to create a formal wound care specialty, while focusing on high level issues regarding scientific breakthroughs, policy and regulatory issues facing the field and technological advances that will change the landscape of the wound care industry.

Please visit the American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair website for more information or to register for the meeting: http://www.acwhtr.org/default.aspx.

(1) Pear R. Medicare Plan for Payments Irks Doctors. New York Times, May 30, 2011.
(2) Van Den Bos J, Rustagi K, Gray T, et al. The $17.1 Billion Problem: The Annual Cost Of Measurable Medical Errors. Health Affairs; 2011, 30(4):596-603.

SOURCE American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair

Source: newswire

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