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The Economic Impact of Complex Wound Care on Home Health Agencies

Vrtis, Mary C.

Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing: July/August 2013 - Volume 40 - Issue 4 - p 360–363
doi: 10.1097/WON.0b013e318297a2ec

The cost of care for home health clients with complicated wounds frequently exceeds reimbursement received from Medicare and other payer sources. As a result, home health agencies may be reluctant to accept this type of referral. Many of the costs associated with complex wound care can be substantially reduced by appropriate use of expensive therapies and dressings and establishment of a cost-effective wound care formulary. Costs can also be reduced by collaboration with prescribing providers to ensure that orders are written generically, and avoid unnecessary nursing visits. Knowledgeable WOC nurses can play a critical role in coordinating care that is both clinically and fiscally effective. This article reviews common challenges in caring for complex wounds in the home care setting with a focus on strategies the prescribing provider and wound care clinician can use to optimize outcomes.

Mary C. Vrtis, PhD, MSN, MA, RN, Director of Professional Services, Aperio Medical Legal Consulting, Front Royal, Virginia.

Correspondence: Mary C. Vrtis, PhD, MSN, MA, RN, Aperio Medical Legal Consulting, (

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society.