The COVID-19 pandemic is driving significant change in the healthcare system, disrupting – and indeed transforming - wound care practice as we know it. Government agencies are moving at impressive speed to remove regulatory barriers and grant new flexibilities so that medicine across specialties can be practiced at different sites of care, in the virtual space and beyond. Importantly, the Coalition, together with our colleagues at the Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders, has had a voice in ensuring that
wound care patients are protected
that the needs of wound care providers are met, and that the concerns of wound care manufacturers are addressed.
The we and the larger wound care community has been working together in an impressive number of ways:
1. Position Statement Keeps Wound Care Clinics Open
The Alliance (of which the Coalition is a member) developed and issued a
to support designating wound care treatments and procedures as essential: “
Wound Care is an Essential – Not Elective – Service that Prevents Hospital Admissions and ED Visits Among a Fragile Cohort of Patients at High-Risk of COVID-19.
” This position statement has been used by wound centers to clarify the role the wound care can play in preventing hospital readmissions and other unintended consequences… and helped many wound centers to stay open to treat their patients. This outcome is of course important to manufacturers that sell products to wound care centers!
2. Regulatory Relief Targeted to Wound Care Clinicians & Manufacturers
Coalition members provided recommendations which we sent to CMS regarding COVID-19 regulatory relief on manufacturer billing and other issues to ensure that wound care patients would receive the necessary products. These issues addressed copays, CTPs, virtual demonstration for pneumatic compression devices, supervision requirement, and specific surgical dressing issues. Recommendations went to our colleagues on the Alliance, who took the lead on submitting a
letter to HHS/CMS
requesting temporary regulatory waivers
to give flexibility to wound care clinicians to
provide necessary procedures and products
to treat their patients amid the evolving realities of the pandemic. (April)
3. COVID-19 Wound Care Action & Resources Center
COVID-19 Action and Resource Center
has been created on the Alliance’s website to serve as
“information central” for wound care
doctors, clinicians and business entities. The resource center includes information on relevant policies, articles and learning opportunities. In addition, via a regular series of emails, we’ve been keeping the Coalition up to date on evolving policy announcements so members can quickly understand the specific impacts, as well as keeping membership informed of CMS “office hours,” “open door forums,” webinars, and other info sessions.
4. COVID-19 Emergency Fund Supports Advocacy Initiatives
To enable a continued focus on COVID-19 advocacy specific to wound care, the
Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders’ Emergency COVID-19 Fund
was created. You’ve seen firsthand how quickly new issues are arising that challenge wound care providers’ ability to care safely for patients. It takes a tremendous effort to stay on top of each evolving policy change, interpret the specific implications for wound care, and galvanize diverse stakeholders into a strong, single voice to defend essential wound care services. Please join the other wound care manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, clinics and innovators who are stepping up to the plate to ensure that the Alliance can continue its tremendous advocacy and education efforts to protect wound care practice and patients.