If you’re currently not following the activities of the Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders (“Alliance”), then I suggest that you drop everything that you’re doing and bring yourself up to speed.
I recently spoke with Marcia Nusgart, the executive director of the Alliance, to catch up on the latest happenings – our 60 minute phone call could never cover the expansive work of the Alliance that has taken place over the course of 2014.
The Alliance, founded in 2002, is clinical multidisciplinary trade association consisting of health care professionals and patient organizations whose driving mission is to “promote quality care and access to products and services for people with wounds through effective advocacy and educational outreach in the regulatory, legislative and public arenas.”
The Alliance is unique since it unites leading wound care clinical associations to provide collective power and expertise for advocating to legislative bodies and regulatory agencies on public policies or issues when they arise that may create barriers to patients gaining access to treatments or care.
What Type of Work Does the Alliance Do?
The foundations of the Alliance’s workplan include: reimbursement, wound care research and wound care quality measures. Recent work with the U.S. Wound Care Registry has led to the development of twelve new Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) wound care measures as submitted through the Qualified Clinical Data Registry process to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) (http://www.uswoundregistry.com/Specifications.aspx).
In addition, recognizing the importance to create a paper defining the principles of wound care research, the Alliance wrote “Consensus Principles for Wound Care Research Obtaining Using a Delphi Process” (Wound Rep Reg. 2012; 20:284-293).
An important initiative for the Alliance members this year is working with the FDA as it revises its 2006 Guidance for Industry: Chronic Cutaneous Ulcer and Burn Wounds-Developing Products for Treatment.
In 2013, the Alliance also took on the difficult task of creating new terminology to replace the clinically inaccurate term “skin substitutes,” which are now called Cellular and/or Tissue-based Products for Wounds (CTPs).
To learn more about the Alliance’s work on this terminology development, please read the WoundSourceroundtable article by Kathleen Schaum, MS, “Out with the Old (Skin Substitutes), In with the New (CTPs and Synthetic & Biosynthetic Dressings).” Please note that WoundSource has adopted this new terminology in its publications.
This year has the Alliance continuing their efforts to educate CMS and its contractors of the payment, coding and coverage of CTPs and other wound care technologies including surgical dressing with honey and disposable negative pressure wound therapy devices.
The Alliance is also working hard to ensure that other key government agencies including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Quality Forum, Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, among others, accurately include wound care technologies, payments services in their reform.
How to Learn More About This Membership Organization
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The work of the Alliance is nuanced and complex. Ms. Nusgart directed me to the “Activities and Accomplishments” and “Official Comments” section of their website for the full-version of their truly mission-driven agenda.
Wound care trends can be a challenge to keep up with. I urge you to take a few minutes (at the very least) to read their statements. If anyone’s got the back health care professionals in wound care, it’s the Alliance.