Highlights from the American Professional Wound Care Association's 2015 Annual Meeting

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by Thomas E. Serena MD, FACS, FACHM, FAPWCA

The American Professional Wound Care Association's (APWCA) annual meeting concluded in Philadelphia the last weekend in March. The meeting featured several novel ideas in wound care education. A hands-on competency session permitted attendees to place total contact casts, practice with two bedside grafting devices, assess vascular status, and become proficient in negative pressure wound therapy.

From Diagnostic Technology to Reimbursement

Characteristic of this meeting, an industry sponsored breakfast on pegloticase for tophus gout highlighted the "cross pollination" between specialties. Dr. William Li captivated the audience with his keynote presentation on angiogenesis and Indocyanine Green Fluorescent (ICG) Angiography. One attendee remarked that his presentation "...was the best he has heard at a wound care conference in recent memory." I must agree.

The topics ranged from diagnostics and new therapeutics to the business of wound care. Dr. Caroline Fife enlightened the audience with a two hour marathon presentation on quality measures and PQRS reporting in wound care. I believe the audience set a new indoor record for the most notations taken in a single session. "If you are going to survive the change from fee-for-service to quality based reimbursement you need to understand this material," remarked a surgeon sitting next to me.

Marcia Nusgart updated the membership on the efforts of the Alliance for Wound Care Stakeholders to influence policy in Washington; and Kevin Yankowski JD exposed the increasing trend in both civil and criminal prosecutions in wound and hyperbaric medicine.

CME Opportunities

This is the first conference to address the needs of mid-level providers in our specialty; and the break-out sessions featured a special track for nurse practitioners and physical therapists in the field of wound care. The success of these sessions has prompted the APWCA to expand them next year. The hyperbaric tracts administered by the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine provided physicians with 8 CME credit hours in hyperbaric medicine. This is the first time that physicians could obtain both wound and CME credits at one meeting. Physicians practicing in a wound and hyperbaric center should strongly consider attending in 2016 if only for these sessions.

The meeting concluded with a touching presentation by Sal Salcido on his work with wounded warriors followed by lively debate on debridement and coding. The faculty featured the "old guard" —like me— and new members who brought their own perspective to the interprofessional event. I want to thank the board of directors of the APWCA, the faculty and staff and the attendees for making this year's annual meeting a fabulous event. I look forward to seeing everyone back in Philadelphia in March of 2016.

About The Author
Dr. Thomas Serena has published more than 75 peer-reviewed papers and has made in excess of 200 presentations worldwide. He has been elected to the Board of Directors of both The Wound Healing Society and the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine (ACHM), the leading academic society in the field of Hyperbaric Medicine. In 2014 Dr. Serena was elected president of the American Professional Wound Care Association (APWCA). Dr. Serena has opened and operates Wound Care and hyperbaric oxygen treatment clinics across the United States.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.

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