By the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel
Washington, DC – April 12, 2019 – On March 25-27, Dr. William Padula visited Washington, D.C. to advocate for policy solutions surrounding pressure injury prevention at the highest levels of government and health care. His independent advocacy for improving patient safety was provided as a researcher on behalf of NPUAP and its panel members. Dr. Padula is Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP), as well as an Assistant Professor of Health Economics at the University of Southern California Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics in Los Angeles, along with a secondary appointment at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore.
On March 25, Dr. Padula attended the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) 2019 Annual Meeting to present research about the Standardized Pressure Injury Prevention Protocol (SPIPP) as part of SHM's "innovations" study section. This research, coauthored with NPUAP board member and past-President Dr. Joyce Black in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, provided insight into a simple, structured checklist in order to advance implementation of evidence-based practices for pressure injury prevention in accordance with the forthcoming NPUAP/EPUAP/PPPIA 2019 International Guidelines. The research at SHM was well received among the more than 4,000 attendees, including hospitalists, medical directors and advanced practice nurses.
On March 26 and 27, Dr. Padula attended separate meetings with 18 members of the U.S. Congress, their policy staffers, and committee liaisons. Congressional meetings included interactions with the offices of seven Senators and nine Representatives. He also connected with liaisons to the Senate Appropriations Committee and the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education & Related Agencies.
Dr. Padula spent the time immersed in conversation with each office on two major issues surrounding pressure injury prevention that are important to NPUAP. First, that there is a dire need for good science in the field of wound care, and that federal funding agencies could do more to support prevention research around harmful pressure injuries. He cited important data highlighted by the NPUAP, including that most of the 2.5 million pressure injury cases in the U.S. are preventable, which lead to ~60,000 deaths and over $26 billion in financial impact on the U.S. economy. Second, that payment models and coding issues addressed in the past by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality have been effective measures to improve the outlook for prevention in U.S. health care facilities; however, more needs to be done. Dr. Padula cited his recent publication in BMJ Quality & Safety with co-author Dr. Peter Pronovost, a leading global voice on health care quality improvement, suggesting that payment models promoted by CMS that reward hospitals for good performance with respect to never events like pressure injuries, in addition to existing nonpayment and penalty structures, would help guide hospitals towards doing more quality improvement for pressure injury prevention.
These discussions were well-received by members of Congress who promised to work on behalf of one of America's most vulnerable populations, the elderly/frail patient at risk for pressure injuries, to ensure that patient safety is an improved priority during the 116th Congress. Dr. Padula and some Congressmen even shared their personal stories of family members who were harmed or succumbed during hospitalization and long-term care as a result of pressure injuries – Dr. Padula's own grandfather died of complications following heel ulcers after a hip replacement surgery. Dr. Padula noted, "Many of us have a story to share about a loved one who was diagnosed with cancer, for instance. But what is astounding is that when you begin to talk about pressure injuries with members of Congress, they suddenly realize how they each have been personally affected by pressure injuries and hospital quality. This issue touches many Americans, and therefore it's becoming an important realization on Capitol Hill."
Dr. Padula noted something extremely valuable during his two days on Capitol Hill that is not exactly a noticeable trait in today's politics: "I was impressed with the content of character in each Congressmen that I met with – Democrat or Republican or Independent. These are not people who look to create infighting across party lines. In fact, I have never met a group of individuals so prepared to listen to their constituents, learn about the issues and work together through bipartisan support in order to fix issues such as pressure injury prevention. On Capitol Hill, I see agreement, not separation. The key to the success of these missions on behalf of NPUAP and the American patient is to find issues that Congressmen can collaborate and work together on. Patient safety, and pressure injury prevention in particular, is a topic that none of our elected officials is willing to let go by the wayside."
Overall, Dr. Padula had a busy, constructive three days on Capitol Hill in which he discovered that it's clear that pressure injury prevention is on the minds of the U.S. Congress and many leading health care providers.
NPUAP is appreciative of everyone's time on Capitol Hill who listened to Dr. Padula's insight on pressure injury prevention and provided helpful feedback to seek the right policy solutions to improve pressure injury prevention. Pressure injury prevention will continue to resonate with Congress over the next two years, and hopefully lead to effective change that the NPUAP can continue to advise.
The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP), in partnership with the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) and Pan Pacific Pressure Injury Alliance (PPPIA) will be hosting a special event to celebrate the launch of the 2019 International Guideline for the Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Injuries on November 15-16, 2019 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles for this event. Please stay tuned at www.npuap.org for additional information.
About the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel
The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel is a multidisciplinary group of experts in pressure injury. The NPUAP serves as the authoritative voice for improved patient outcomes in pressure injury prevention and treatment through public policy, education and research. Contact NPUAP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.