Government Affairs Update by Anne Carl, BSN, RN, CWON

On June 22, 2015 the WOCN® Society submitted comments in response to the need for Medicare reimbursement for compression therapy to a US Senate finance committee looking at chronic care cost. The letter explained that compression therapy is seen as the Gold Standard in prevention and care of venous leg ulceration and lymphedema. The letter, written by Carolyn Watts, is available on the national site.

More recent activities include three appeals from the WOCN society to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The first letter addresses CMS and the desire to discontinue reimbursement codes for WOC nursing services provided during the 10 and 90 day global surgical period. According to the national site, these codes currently cover procedures provided by the WOC nurse such as ongoing wound management following the surgical procedure, tube management, and long-term ostomy management and education. The second letter concerns the language used to describe colostomy, ureterostomy and ileostomy in a document intended to be used to improve the quality of care for long-term care residents. The letter describes the need to change the word ureterostomy to the clinically suitable word urostomy. In addition the society proposes a directed plan of care for ostomy residents and petitions CMS to add a provision for resident access to expert services of a certified wound ostomy nurse. The third letter discusses the Durable Medical Equipment Medicare Administrative Contractors (DMA MACs) Surgical Dressing LCD (local coverage determinations). The WOCN® Society was involved in drafting the initial policy in 1993 and remains a stakeholder. The letter describes the alarm over the current proposal which is deemed to be clinically inaccurate and unclear. The current proposal removes clinician from the clinical decision making process. The society outlines all concerns and addresses dressing surgical materials individually. All three letters can be accessed using the links below, or simply copy and paste into your browser:

Contact your state legislator to petition for support of these initiative by following this link: