Hospitals step up pressure-ulcer efforts

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In an effort to prevent costly pressure ulcers and avoid non-payments, hospitals are embracing new care procedures - including some that nursing homes have long employed - the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Long-term care providers "have made strides of their own in [pressure ulcer] prevention," the Journal article stated. Acute-care hospitals, however, have generally been less aggressive, despite strong evidence that prevention is effective. Nearly 15% of hospitalized patients may have pressure ulcers at any one time, according to statistics from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last month announced that beginning in Oct. 2008 Medicare would no longer provide reimbursements to hospitals for eight preventable medical errors, including pressure ulcers. That has prodded hospitals to pursue better quality processes, including conducting more immediate, in-depth skin screenings and following turning schedules more closely, the Journal reported.
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