Guiding Principle:The purpose of the WOCN Society’s Public Policy and Advocacy Health Care Agenda is to promote public policy and advocacy activities that are related to the Society’s mission, vision and strategic goals.
Public Policy/Advocacy Priorities:
- Access to Wound, Ostomy and Continence (WOC) Supplies
Protect and enhance patients' access to WOC supplies.
Patients require access to medically necessary WOC products and durable medical equipment.
The WOCN Society and its members understand that state Medicaid, as well as federal Medicare spending programs, are under extreme pressure to control costs while still providing quality outcomes.
Investment in quality WOC products assists with controlling costs and improves patient outcomes. These outcomes include:
- Reduced facility admissions and readmissions/emergency department visits.
- Reduced medical/surgical complications.
- Reduced cost of chronic care management.
- Successful rehabilitation of patients and early return to the workforce.
The WOCN Society supports all efforts which advocate for access to ostomy supplies by all those in need for these lifesaving products.
- Actively monitoring state Medicaid and Health Insurance Exchange programs as well as Medicare to ensure proper coverage for WOC supplies.
- Payment Reform
Ensure that patients have access to WOC specialty nursing services.
WOC nurses meet patient needs not usually provided by physician services or other health care providers.
WOC nurses are highly qualified providers due to intensive education, experiential learning, precepted clinical experiences, and a rigorous independent certification process.
The premier organizations for the education and certification of WOC specialty nurses are the WOCN Society and the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB®), respectively. The WOCN Society and WOCNCB believe that a nurse who is responsible for the management of the nursing care of patients with wound, ostomy and/or continence needs can best demonstrate competency by completion of a WOCN Society-accredited, Wound, Ostomy and/or Continence Nursing Education Program (WOCNEP) and/or certification by the WOCNCB in all of the specialty areas in which they practice.
Findings from studies in the United States (Arnold & Weir, 1994; Bolton et al., 2004; Peirce, Tiffany, Kinsey, & Link, 2008) and in Canada (Harris & Shannon, 2008) have shown that patients who were cared for by WOC nurses (also known as Enterostomal Therapy Nurses or ETs) had better outcomes in terms of healing rates and/or costs of care compared to patients cared for by non-WOC/ET nurses.
The WOCN Society supports a comprehensive health care system focused on wellness, which maximizes patient health and minimizes long-range costs.
The WOCN Society is dedicated to assuring the availability of appropriate care for individuals with wounds, ostomies and incontinence because patients deserve health care that assists them in maximizing their functional status.
The WOCN Society encourages the appropriate utilization of specialty nurses to assure that its goal of giving the most beneficial care in the most cost-effective manner is met.
The WOCN Society believes that nursing as a profession enhances health care services to a multifaceted society and includes prevention, health maintenance, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation. WOC care are areas of specialty practice within the framework of nursing that strive to advance the health care and quality of life for all affected individuals.
- Monitoring federal and state payment reform initiatives to ensure WOC nursing is fairly represented.
- Nursing Workforce and Education
WOCN Society advocates for adequate funding of programs for the development and education of nursing's workforce, including Title 9 of the Public Health Services Act to support the recruitment, education, and retention of the nation’s nursing work force.
As a member of the Nursing Community, the WOCN Society supports the following core principles:
A robust and diverse nursing workforce is essential to the health of all Americans:
- Nurses are an integral part of the health care team, are involved in every aspect of care, and are committed to the patient, their families and the community.
The contributions made by the practice and science of nursing are critical to the delivery of high quality, life saving, preventative and palliative health care across all care settings, geographic areas, and social determinants of health.
- Actively lobby Congress to fully-fund federal workforce programs.
- Participate in Nursing Community activities aimed at protecting federal workforce programs.
- Quality of Care Initiatives
Active participation in policy and regulatory development.
The WOCN Society believes best practice, patient-centered care is data driven and evidenced based.
- The Society contributes to quality of care by producing evidence-based, clinical practice guidelines for the management of patients with wounds due to pressure, venous, arterial and neuropathic disease and a best practice guideline for management of patients with fecal ostomies.
- The Society participates in the development of quality measures pertinent to the scope of WOC specialty nursing practice through collaboration with NQF.
- The Society endeavors to engage in collaborative efforts with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ANA and policy makers in the development of relevant quality initiatives.
Completed: May 23, 2012
Updated: August 22, 2016