Driving Innovation in Wound Care

New legislation could finally bring Medicaire reimbursement for single-use or disposable negative pressure wound therapy, which would help spread the use of these devices in the homecare setting.

Negative pressure wound therapy devices help in the healing and closure of wounds by using a pump and special dressings to create negative pressure (a vacuum) at well-sealed wound sites to help remove fluids and infectious materials while drawing wound edges together.

In recent years, single-use or disposable NPWT have seen use in post-surgical wound healing and other applications because they are simple, can be worn by the patient, and provide a sufficient amount of therapy time (seven days).

However, as innovative as they are, an obstacle in the proliferation of these devices has been that there isn’t standardized reimbursement for disposable devices. An effort on Capitol Hill is trying to change that.

In April, Reps. G.K. Butterfield (DN.C.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) launched a bill that would update CMS payment rules regarding home-based wound care. That was then followed companion legislation introduced in the Senate that was introduced by Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)

The bills would put disposable items such as disposable negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) devices on par with non-disposable NPWT devices by standardizing the payment methodology nationally. The policy would apply a neutral area wage index for payments made to home health agencies (HHAs), clarify that payments to HHAs for disposable NPWT devices are to be made for the device itself, not accompanying professional services, and reduce administrative burdens by streamlining the billing forms.

VGM Wound Care’s Trumm says that there are some dealers currently offering single-use NPWT but are doing it on a retail basis. Finally getting reimbursement would help drive the use of disposable devices and open up new opportunities for DME dealers.

This article originally appeared in the DME Pharmacy December 2021 issue of HME Business.