Health Care Association Takes Advantage of Penalty Funds to Renew Attack on Pressure Ulcers
The Health Care Association of New Jersey has collaborated with a member company to provide an intensive training program to prepare licensed clinicians to become certified wound specialists, thereby increasing the number of specialists throughout long term care facilities throughout the state.
The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services has approved a stipend of $1000 for each student sponsored by a Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)-certified nursing facility who successfully completes the course and subsequently passes the American Academy of Wound Management examination. The funds for these stipends come from the nursing home civil monetary penalty fund that is allocated to the state from CMS which levies fines through federal enforcement of nursing facility regulations.
“It is inexplicable to those of us who have focused our attention and resources on the issue of pressure ulcers, that we have not made better progress, said Paul R. Langevin, Jr., president of HCANJ. “Inspections, surveys and punitive approaches have been tried with moderate success.”
The presence of pressure ulcers in patients cared for in healthcare facilities is a significant quality indicator and an area where, despite serious and persistent efforts by long term care providers, New Jersey and its neighbors throughout the Northeast still register higher than desired numbers of patients exhibiting these wounds.
“HCANJ decided that it was time to move in a new direction,” he said. “The use of penalty funds from past infractions to encourage certification of wound care specialists will help to increase quality of care in long term care facilities.”
Having recognized the need to be even more proactive about lessening the occurrence of pressure ulcers, HCANJ went as far as to find a sponsor in the New Jersey Legislature for a bill that would require pressure redistribution mattresses in all nursing homes over a period of three years. In addition, HCANJ was also an active participant in the New Jersey Hospital Association Pressure Ulcer Collaborative, the goal of which was to improve patient safety and the quality of care for the elderly living in institutional settings. Over the course of a year, representatives from across the healthcare spectrum in New Jersey worked together, and with leading experts in wound care, to find ways to enhance the way care is delivered in health care settings.
The faculty of the 23.5-hour Pressure Ulcer Prevention System course is made up of Genesis HealthCare Corporation Certified Wound Care Specialists and professionals from adjunct disciplines. To date, approximately 50 professionals have completed the course with several having already taken the exam and receiving certification.
“HCANJ and Genesis HealthCare are very proud of the fact that we have undertaken this program which will mean that more health care professionals will attain high-level proficiency in wound care,” said Langevin. “This translates to an even higher level of quality care in New Jersey long term care facilities as these certified clinicians educate and mentor their caregiver teams in the complexities of wound and skin care.
“One of the New Jersey Genesis HealthCare facilities has already received stipends for three of their professionals who have achieved this certification. With over 350 nursing facilities in New Jersey we hope that this is just the beginning of a movement to further safeguard the health of the elderly residents in our care,” he concluded.
HCANJ, established in 1949, is the largest trade association representing long term care providers in New Jersey. HCANJ’s 280+ long term care facility members include comprehensive personal care, residential health care, nursing facilities, assisted living communities, and adult day health service providers. Associate membership is also available for companies offering products or services used within the long term care profession. Further information can be obtained by calling the Association at 609-890-8700 or visiting the HCANJ web site at www.hcanj.org.