Wound Care by the Numbers: Medicare Cost and Utilization of Patients with Chronic Wounds
The growing and costly chronic wound epidemic
Chronic wounds affect millions of older adults in the U.S., yet the epidemic’s pervasiveness and connection to other chronic disease is underappreciated
Today, one percent of patients account for more than 20 percent of the nation’s healthcare expenses, and the top five percent account for nearly half. One of the lesser known and more complex 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. The prevalence of chronic wounds are increasing in tandem with the growing aging population and incidences of chronic diseases more common in older adults such as, diabetes and peripheral artery disease (PAD). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 20 years the percent of the total U.S. population age 65 or older is expected to increase to 21 percent. PAD for example, a circulatory disease commonly associated with non-healing wounds, affects about 8 million Americans and 12-20 percent of Americans age 65 and older.
Because the management of chronic wounds crosses many clinical specialties and extends into social and behavioral services, this paper demonstrates, by the Medicare numbers, the critical need for strategic attention and active cross-sector collaboration in the name of chronic wound healing.
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