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News & Press: Advocacy and Policy

Latest Issue of WOCN Society In Action--Public Policy & Advocacy Newsletter

Wednesday, October 30, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kristin Petty
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The WOCN® Society In Action is a members-only public policy and advocacy newsletter that highlights the most pressing issues related to the WOC practice and the Society's advocacy efforts.
Pressure Reducing Support
Surfaces Prior Authorization
Section 1834(a)(15) of the Social Security Act (the Act) authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and periodically update a list of DMEPOS that the Secretary determines, on the basis of prior payment experience, are frequently subject to unnecessary utilization and to develop a prior authorization process for these items. CMS announced in December 30, 2015 a finalized rule creating a prior authorization (PA) process for certain DMEPOS items and now include Pressure Reducing Support Surfaces (PRSS). Prior authorization helps to ensure that all applicable Medicare coverage, payment, and coding rules are met before an item is provided. Prior authorization is a process through which a request for provisional affirmation of coverage is submitted for review before an item is provided to a Medicare patient and before a claim is submitted for payment.

The Society created a FAQ document intended to help WOCN Society members comply with these new requirements.
WOCN Attends Bladder Health Roundtable Meeting
Donna Thompson, MSN, CRNP, FNP-BC, CCCN-AP, Nurse Practitioner, Division of Urogynecology, University of Pennsylvania Health System represented the Society at the AUA/UCF Bladder Health Alliance Roundtable meeting in Washington, D.C. in early October. The meeting is held annually in an effort to promote bladder health advocacy. The meeting was attended by more than 25 patient, physician and research advocacy organizations to discuss bladder health issues including new bladder health research programs taking place at the National Institutes of Health; and how to collaboratively promote policies that reduce the stigma associated with bladder health conditions. Further discussions focused on how advocates can become engaged with the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to promote patient centered approaches to improve bladder health. Click here to learn more.
Medicare Fistula Coverage
Society members have expressed a growing concern over the lack of access to supplies for patients who have nonsurgical and surgical related fistulas. These groups of patients are falling into a coverage gap that exists in post-acute, post home care with access to supplies. This issue has been noted in patients both pediatric and adult. More information can be found in a White Paper prepared by the Society Click here to learn more.
Lymphedema Treatment Act
The Lymphedema Treatment Act (S.518), introduced by Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Todd Young (R-IN) currently has 67 cosponsors. While the House bill (H.R. 1948), introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), currently has 352 cosponsors. This is a tremendous amount of support and a strong indication that this important legislation can pass the Congress this session. Thank you to all our Society members who sent letters to Congress asking for support. Your advocacy is paying off. Currently, the Leadership of the Congress have asked the Congressional Budget Office to review the legislation to assign it a cost score. Take action now! Click here to learn more.
Regional and Affiliates Grassroots Taskforce
In response to membership requests, the advocacy team has begun work on revamping our advocacy outreach to Society's Region and Affiliates. In order to accomplish this goal, we have created three regional and affiliate task force groups to complete various objectives. Click here to learn more.
The Nursing Community Coalition
The Society is a member of the Nursing Community Coalition which consists of 58 national nursing organizations committed to improving the health and healthcare of our nation by collaborating to support Registered Nurses (RNs) and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). Collectively, the NC represents over one million RNs, APRNs, nurse researchers, nurse faculty and nursing students. In the past quarter the Nursing Community has provided comments and updates on several issues.   Click here to learn more.
Access & Care Coalition
The Society is a member of the Access & Care Coalition. The mission of the Coalition is to counter restricted consumer access to medical supplies under Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. The Access & Care Coalition consists of urological and ostomy medical technology suppliers and manufacturers, as well as clinician, physician, and consumer and disability advocates. The Coalition will take action on health policy matters that:
  • Are in the best interests of high-quality care that maximize function and independent living for people with disabilities; and
  • Can provide people with disabilities with their choice of, and access to, the prescribed and medically appropriate urological and ostomy medical technology and supplies.
WOCN / CMMI Long Term Care Project
Pressure ulcers, complicated ostomies and fistulas can be challenging to treat and manage in the long-term care facility (“LTC”) settings. LTCs do not have a wound and ostomy care specialist, or even a staff member trained in wounds or care of patients with complex bowel and bladder diversions. As a result, the Society is working with additional stakeholders on a proposal to be submitted to CMMI which would allow reimbursement of WOC nurses care for LTC patients without direct supervision of a physician. This would allow WOC nurses to conduct routine wound and ostomy treatment on a proactive basis, which will result in fewer patient transports, fewer outpatient/hospital stays, less interruption in care and better overall care for the patients. Click here to read more.
Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders
In addition to the efforts taken on by the Society, we have also enjoyed success through our membership in the Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders (The Alliance). The Alliance is a nonprofit multidisciplinary trade association of physician medical specialty societies and clinical associations whose 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. Through the Alliance, the Society is able to comment and follow government regulations on multiple fronts and directly impact policy decisions. Click here to learn more. 

The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act
The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2019 (S. 296), was introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) in the Senate. In the House, a companion bill (H.R. 2150) was introduced by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Ron Kind (D-WI), and Mike Kelly (R-PA). The legislation would authorize nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse-midwives, and physician assistants to certify home healthcare services for their Medicare patients. This legislation would ensure that beneficiaries have timely access to the home health care they need and reduce costs for Medicare. Take action now! Click here to learn more.  
WOCN Society, WOCNCB & UOAA Collaboration
The Society continues an open communication with the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB ® ) public policy and advocacy team, and the United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA) public policy and advocacy team identifying and working in collaboration on common policy and advocacy issues.
Hear From the Society's National
Public Policy and Advocacy Committee

On this episode of WOCTalk we sit down with Kate Lawrence, MSN, RN, CWOCN, the Society’s Public Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, and Chris Rorick, MPH, the Society’s Director of Government Relations, who serve on the Society’s National Public Policy and Advocacy Committee. Kate and Chris discuss the important role that public policy plays within the Society, and resources that members can use as guides to advocate for themselves, for their profession and for their patients. They also discuss the diligent process of how the Committee works to identify important issues, create action plans and aim to get bills passed.

For more information on the Society’s public policy and advocacy efforts, and to contact your legislator regarding current issues, please visit wocn.org/publicpolicy.
If you have questions regarding any of these issues, please contact:
Chris Rorick, MPH
Director of Government Relations
+1 202-508-6354
Kate Lawrence, MSN, RN, CWOCN
WOCN Public Policy and Advocacy Coordinator

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