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New England Chapter

of the

Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society®
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Message from our NEC of the WOCN President Mary Harris

President's Message

Summer, 2024

Welcome to Summer of 2024 with the recent heat wave behind us and summer vacations ahead of us!  A few weeks ago, I was at the National WOCN® Conference in Cleveland, OH, the birthplace of WOC Nursing!  What a great time of fun to include an evening at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, and reconnecting with colleagues, as well as learning/updates from the WOC! I had the opportunity to “run into” my teacher from Cleveland Clinic, Paula Erwin-Toth!  It is always a pleasure to see her and so many of our National Leaders in one place.  What a proud heritage we have!

A few of our New England WOCN colleagues were inducted into the WOCN® Fellow Program.  This is the second year the National WOCN® Society has been doing this.  We are honored to have Catherine Milne, MSN, APRN, APN/ACNS-BC, CWOCN-AP, WOCNF and Kate Lawrence, MSN, RN, CWOCN in our Chapter!  Congratulations!  See our Facebook page for more information on this.

The President’s Meeting at National was a recap of all the changes that have taken place in the past 4 years, and what is to come.  Here is a summary of the accomplishments:  Change of the name from Region to Chapter, Consolidation of Regions from 33 to 11, Closure of bank accounts from the affiliates to the Chapters, hiring of Capri for accounting purposes, all Chapter’s websites have been evaluated and will become standardized through National, Board orientations completed, and most importantly, Live Communities.

The following is what National is working on:  Chapter treasurer orientation with Capri, voting options that are secure and private for all Chapters, develop member awareness of communities, New Chapter Websites, regularly scheduled Chapter Leader zoom meetings, Scholarship assessment and plan – a lot of money not being utilized at the National level, Conference assessment, membership opportunities and integration.

An update on Communities:  At the New England Chapter breakfast meeting, about 12 members plus some board members were in attendance.  Only 3 members knew what I was talking about regarding Communities.  I had a tutorial planned and shared this with the members in attendance.  I asked these members, when they return to work, please share this new communication tool.  Eventually, this is the only way we will be able to communicate with you because the use of blast emails will no longer be available.  I will be repeating this tutorial at the Fall Conference for those in attendance.  National has expanded their “how to” tutorial with videos and written instructions, there will be a new member alert, the importance of WOCN® Society Membership.  National is working on a Mobil App for community members.

Please read your emails for your Fall 2024 Conference attendance and booking!  The Education Committee has been hard at work since Fall 2023 to bring you an outstanding educational experience!  The emails are coming from our event planner, Albrecht.  Please do not unsubscribe from them.  This is your opportunity to keep up with the latest research, products, posters, challenges that will benefit your practice.  The people presenting to you are your colleagues from New England.   They have worked hard to put together their topic.  Vendors are sponsoring meals and breaks, and we sincerely Thank them for their generosity!


Please click the link below to register for your New England Chapter Fall Conference on October 25-26, 2024:


Dates to Remember:

September 9 - Early Bird Rate Ends   
September 16 - OnDemand Sessions are posted in Attendee Hub for viewing
September 30 - Poster Submissions Due
October 1 - Outstanding Nurse of the Year Award Nominations Due
October 1- Scholarship Applications Due
October 25-26 - Live Conference
November 14 - Deadline to complete the Individual Educational Activity Evaluation Form


We are also looking for nominations for secretary.  If you, or someone you know, is interested in having a more active role in the New England Chapter, please contact your leadership chair, Diane Bryant: newenglandwocnleadership@gmail.comVoting will commence mid-August, please watch your emails for this important information.

I wish you all a safe and happy summer! 

Sincerely Yours,

Mary Harris, BSN, RN, CWON                                                                                                                        

New England Chapter President, 2023-2025


WOCN successfully advocated for the inclusion of an important Congressional policy at the end of 2022. The Lymphedema Treatment Act was included in this last legislative vehicle to move in the 117th Congress and signed into law before the end of the year. 



This important legislation would amend Medicare statute to pay for compression garments, bandages and supplies to reduce lymphedema-related swelling and prevent recurrence. WOCN joined with other Alliance clinical groups to present best practices for lymphedema treatment as well as a comprehensive discussion of what products are used for treatment and how products are fitted. In addition, the Alliance sent a more detailed written document explaining in greater detail the following items:

  • Treatment of lymphedema from initiation to maintenance

  • Other diagnostic considerations- e.g., phlebolymphedema

  • Maintenance and fitting of the compression items

  • What is involved with the measure, fit and application of bandages and compression items

  • Input on types of items necessary to treat lymphedema in addition to compression garments

  • Expected timeframes these items last and how often they should be replaced

  • Recommendation that CMS establish HCPCS or CPT codes along with coverage and payment for the following:

    • CPT procedure codes specific for measuring, fitting and education related to compression garments. Currently there are not skill specific CPT codes for medical providers, allied health and/or fitters to account for the time and expertise required to fit/measure/provide these compression items.

    • HCPCS codes for efficacy aids named above as well as custom compression garments for all body parts.

This federal law passed on 12/23/22 went into effect on 1/1/24 to improve insurance coverage for the medically necessary, doctor-prescribed compression supplies that are the cornerstone of lymphedema treatment.

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The New England Chapter of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (New England Chapter WOCN) is an association of WOC/ET Nurses, a division of the National Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurse’s Society (WOCN).

Our purpose is to organize and sponsor educational opportunities, support leadership and professional development, encourage evidenced based nursing practice and advocate for the delivery of quality health care to all individuals with a wound, ostomy or continence related issue.

About WOC Nursing:

Wound, ostomy and continence (WOC) nursing is a multifaceted, evidence-based practice incorporating a unique body of knowledge to provide excellence in prevention, health maintenance, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitative nursing care to persons with select disorders of the gastrointestinal, genitourinary and integument systems. This complex, interdependent specialty encompasses the care of all patient populations across the continuum of care while providing a pivotal role as educator, researcher, and resource throughout the healthcare community. WOC nursing directs its efforts at improving the quality of life for individuals with wound, ostomy and continence concerns.

Whether you specialize in wounds, ostomies or incontinence, all three practice areas offer opportunity for professional growth as well as opportunity to play a pivotal role in the guidance of optimal patient care.

Please browse our website to learn more!

The New England Chapter of the Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nurses Society welcomes you to our website!

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