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New England Chapter

of the

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

President's Message

March, 2024

Happy Spring!  As we all enjoy the warmer weather, blooming trees and flowers changing the cold winter landscape, I am seeing changes within the National WOCN that I am sharing with you.

***Please join the Chapter Board for an important live Zoom call on April 3rd @ 7pm***         

 

A zoom invite will be emailed to you the day before.  A leader from National WOCN will be joining us at the beginning of the meeting to discuss the following changes: 

     1. Our name is changing from New England Region to New England Chapter. This has been many months in the making. The change is to come up to date with other national organizations that have changed the region to chapter. National is working on a new logo for us to use, which will be a Registered Trademark.  Soon you will receive emails from our event planner for our Fall Conference and you will see this logo change. 

 

     2.  Speaking of emails, by the end of this year or sooner, we will no longer have access to your email addresses.  It is a violation of the business version of HIPAA law. The law is called: GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation.  We will no longer have access to your emails, so we are compliant with this law.  You will no longer be getting blast emails from National or your New England Chapter, for conferences, voting, and anything else you have received in the past when this goes into effect. 

 

     3. When we lose the ability to send blast emails, communication with members can only be via National's website communities and via the social media we already have.  Below is a copy of what this looks like on National's website:

     I am asking all members to log onto National's website, sign in under members only and become a member of "communities".  National has already put your name into the communities page.  I have personally emailed some of my colleagues that I have worked with or personally know.  Please take the time to accept this connection.  

 

     When you complete your profile, you will be able to opt in/out to receive emails alerting the person to a conversation in the community.  There is an option to receive the community conversation "live" or "daily".

 

     There are several communities to belong to, such as:  New England Chapter, Wound, Ostomy, Continence, Foot and Nail, Professional practice and a few more.  A member can belong to any or all Chapters.  Please sign up for the New England Chapter, so we can communicate with you.

 

     4.  Our New England Region Website:  This was updated at the beginning of last year.  National will be redoing our website.   The anticipated date is June 2024.  They will make sure there is proper branding and trademarking to the website.  If you want to view our website, you will have to go on National's website, look for the link to our New England Chapter website.  There will be a National webmaster who will update our website with information as our New England Chapter Communications Committee will send it to this person.  Any updates to our website will be communicated via Communities.

 

     5.  Individual members and places of employment cannot describe ourselves as WOCNs.  This is a registered trademark.  We must describe ourselves at WOC Nurses.  If you are using the title at work "WOCN", please make the appropriate changes. 

 

Thank you for your attention to these updates, see you on April 3rd.

 

Sincerely,

Mary Harris, BSN, RN, CWON

New England Chapter President

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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. 

 

THE LYMPHEDEMA TREATMENT ACT

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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