Wound care by the numbers: Medicare cost and utilization of patients with chronic wounds

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The remarkably high costs associated with care delivery for a fairly small but growing number of individuals disproportionately drives the rising cost of healthcare in the U.S. This population of high-need individuals includes those with multiple chronic diseases who are over the age of 65 and require a high degree of specialty care from numerous providers. Their needs extend beyond strictly clinical to social and behavioral services. They are more likely to be publicly (Medicare) insured and not surprisingly, susceptible to lack of coordination within the healthcare system. Today, this 1 percent of patients account for more than 20 percent of the nation’s healthcare expenses, and the top 5 percent account for nearly half. Strategic attention and active collaboration from a broad range of stakeholders could have a positive impact on outcomes and healthcare system costs.

One of the lesser known segments within this high-need patient population are individuals who suffer from chronic wounds. In the U.S., chronic wounds affect approximately 6.7 million individuals and an excess of $50 billion is spent annually on treatment.