Four Financial Reasons to Reduce Pressure Ulcer Incidents: Leaf Healthcare Releases White Paper on Direct and Indirect Costs Associated with Pressure Ulcers

Sep 03, 2015, 11:15 ET from Leaf Healthcare, Inc.

PLEASANTON, Calif., Sept. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Four financial reasons to reduce pressure ulcers are detailed in a white paper released by Leaf Healthcare, Inc.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ), pressure ulcers cost the US healthcare system an estimated $9.1-$11.6 billion annually. In addition to direct treatment related costs, pressure ulcers also result in litigation, government penalties, and negatively impact hospital performance metrics. On top of the financial implications, pressure ulcers also have a significant impact on patient morbidity, mortality, and quality of life. To further exacerbate the problem, as the population ages, the percent of patients at risk for developing pressure ulcers is growing, thus increasing the demand for early stage prevention.

"We are facing a pressure ulcer epidemic," said Barrett Larson, MD (Chief Medical Officer). "One out of every 30 hospitalized patients will develop a pressure ulcer in the United States. Annual treatment costs for hospital acquired pressure ulcers are over $9 billion."

The white paper discusses four financial reasons to reduce pressure ulcers (PUs):

  1. Direct Costs - The cost of treating a pressure ulcer depends on its severity, with estimates generally ranging from $2,000-$20,000 per ulcer. The incremental cost of treating stage 1 PUs is just over $2,000, stage 2 PUs range between $3,000-$10,000, stage 3 PUs range between $5,900-$14,840, and stage 4 PUs cost as much as $18,730-$21,410. The Society of Actuaries has calculated that the overall incremental cost of treating an average pressure ulcer is $10,700.
  2. Litigation - According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there are more than 17,000 pressure ulcer related lawsuits filed annually (second only to wrongful death lawsuits).
  3. Penalties - As mandated in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the bottom quartile of hospitals with the highest overall hospital-acquired condition score – which includes hospital-acquired pressure ulcer rates - are penalized 1% percent of reimbursement for Medicare patients.
  4. Cost to Patients - Each year, approximately 60,000 patients die as a direct result of pressure ulcers. Patients living with pressure ulcers suffer the burden of pain and decreased quality of life. Other indirect costs to patients include: time lost from work, forced early retirement, impact on patients' families, and other expenses associated with morbidity/mortality.

Recently released guidelines from the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) recommend repositioning all patients at risk of pressure ulcers unless medically contraindicated. For the recommended seven steps clinicians might use to help prevent pressure ulcers, please see

Use of the Leaf Patient Monitoring System has been shown to improve compliance to repositioning protocols from 64 percent (the national average) to 98 percent. Many hospitals have improved their turn compliance rates using the Leaf Patient Monitoring System, including El Camino Hospital, Desert Valley Medical Center, and many others.  More recently, hospitals using the Leaf system are reporting dramatic and sustained decreases in their pressure ulcers.

The Leaf system is comprised of a small, lightweight, wearable sensor that electronically monitors a patient's position and movements. Data collected by the sensor is communicated wirelessly to central monitoring stations or mobile devices so that caregivers can easily monitor patient position and movement. The system provides alerts when necessary to ensure that all patients wearing a Leaf Sensor are repositioned according to their prescribed turning schedules in order to prevent pressure ulcers.  The Leaf Patient Monitoring System has been cleared for sale by FDA.

About Leaf Healthcare, Inc.

Leaf Healthcare creates wireless patient monitoring solutions for health care providers seeking more efficient, cost effective ways to improve patient safety and clinical outcomes. The Leaf Patient Monitoring System wirelessly monitors a patient's position and movement and uses that data to automate and document the management of prescribed turn protocols for patients at risk for hospital acquired pressure ulcers. The company continually seeks to incorporate more patient monitoring features and capabilities into its technology platform, enabling ever-broader improvements to patient safety, clinical efficiency and patient outcomes. To learn more, visit 

Leaf Healthcare is a proud supporter of the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP). The NPUAP is an independent organization and does not endorse or promote the products or services of any of its supporters.


SOURCE Leaf Healthcare, Inc.