Wound-healing Centers Boost Hospital Revenue

As is usually the case in a recession, people are looking for ways to scrimp and save. Fortunately, chronic wound care is not one of those areas where people are willing to do without.
Renee Skinner, program director at six-hospital system UNC Healthcare’s Wound Healing Center, tells HealthLeaders Media, “When you have this type of issue, people will cut back on the things that are basic healthcare, but when they have an open wound that’s painful, that’s infective, they can’t ignore that. You can see the impact in the individual patients’ lives [due to layoffs], but the medical need doesn’t change with the economic climate of a nation.”
Hospitals are finding that wound healing centers are revenue drivers partly because of this high demand.

According to HealthLeaders Media editor Marianne Aiello, “diabetic, bariatric, and geriatric patients are most at risk for developing chronic wounds and, because of the aging boomer population and climbing diabetes and obesity rates, the number of wound care patients is expected to increase.”
Another revenue driver is that a great number of these patients are or will be covered under the Medicare program and, because chronic wound treatment provides favorable health outcomes, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to increase reimbursement rates for both hospitals and physicians.
High demand and reimbursement rates are reason enough for a hospital to partner with a wound healing center, but there’s more.
According to Skinner, “It’s very expensive to staff and keep up with the latest wound care products and plan of care, so for a general practice, it is not effective for them to try and manage this part of the patient’s care.” Thus, hospitals with wound healing centers are gaining popularity among referring physicians.
Consequently, hospitals with wound-healing centers have little need to advertise.
“We don’t do a lot in terms of marketing direct to the consumer,” Terri Harris, director of the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Oxygen Center at Chandler, Ariz. Regional Medical Center tells HealthLeader Media. “It’s expensive to put ads in the newspaper or TV and radio commercials, and we have to get authorization from insurance companies. I find it’s better to do the education to the physician at his or her office, and then they’re able to refer the patient in.”
Source: HealthLeaders Media (12/28)

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