4 direct and indirect costs of pressure ulcers

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates 2.5 million U.S. patients are affected by pressure ulcers a year. Besides the fact that pressure ulcers are incredibly painful and potentially fatal, there are four financial reasons hospitals should work to reduce these injuries, according to a new whitepaper released by Leaf Healthcare.

Leaf Healthcare creates wireless patient monitoring solutions for healthcare providers. It is also a supporter of the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel.

According to the Leaf whitepaper, "The costs associated with pressure ulcers are considerable." AHRQ estimates pressure ulcers cost the healthcare industry between $9.1 billion and $11.6 billion annually.

The expense of pressure ulcers include:

1. Direct costs. Treating a pressure ulcer can cost between $2,000 and $20,000, depending on the ulcer's stage and severity.

2. Litigation. Each year, there are more than 17,000 pressure ulcer-related lawsuits filed (second only to wrongful death lawsuits), further adding on to the expense of pressure ulcers.

3. Penalties. Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare penalizes hospitals 1 percent of their reimbursement if they have high hospital-acquired infection rates (including pressure ulcers).

4. Patient costs. Roughly 60,000 patients die each year as a direct result of pressure ulcers. Even when they aren't fatal, these injuries cause pain and decrease quality of life. Pressure ulcers are also costly in that they can lead patients to miss work, retire early and create other expenses for the patient and patient's family.

To learn more about pressure ulcer costs, read the full whitepaper here.



More articles on pressure ulcers:
How pressure ulcers impact patient care: 5 key takeaways
Leapfrog tracks progress in pressure ulcers, injuries, CAUTIs & CLABSIs: 7 takeaways
How CTCA Philadelphia lowered pressure ulcer rates to 1%

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