1. Section Editor(s): Hess, Cathy Thomas BSN, RN, CWOCN

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The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) has changed its name to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In addition to the name change, HCFA has added 3 separate centers of service: The Center for Beneficiary Choices, which will provide beneficiaries with information about the Medicare+Choice program; The Center for Medicare Management, which will deal with the traditional fee-for-service program; and The Center for Medicaid and State Operations, which will center around programs that are administered by the states, including Medicaid, State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), and insurance regulations. This is the first step in the agency's effort to become more consumer-oriented and responsive to the needs of beneficiaries, providers, and states.



Smith & Nephew, plc, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, has acquired from Westaim Biomedical Corporation, Exeter, NH, an exclusive global license to Westaim's antimicrobial coating technology for wounds and its US and Canadian Acticoat burn dressing business. Acticoat is a nanocrystalline silver-based dressing used for the treatment and prevention of infection in burns. The product has demonstrated a wide antimicrobial spectrum and is effective against 150 different pathogens, including drug-resistant forms of bacteria. Westaim Biomedical will continue to manufacture the product for Smith & Nephew and will receive royalty payments. The companies plan to collaborate on developing the technology further, particularly for the treatment of chronic wounds.


Augustine Medical, Inc, Eden Prairie, MN, has recommended to the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) new HCFA Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) coding for its Warm-Up therapy product. HCPCS codes would allow providers to bill Medicare for use of Warm-Up therapy on patients. Warm-Up therapy is the only noncontact normothermic wound care system available today. The system consists of a sterile wound cover, an infrared warming card, and a battery-operated controller that delivers regulated warmth to the wound. Augustine Medical is seeking Durable Medical Equipment (DME) HCPCS codes for each component. Warm-Up therapy received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance in 1997 and has been successfully used to heal chronic wounds.


VersaLab, a new battery-operated, bidirectional Doppler with a built-in printer from Nicolet Vascular, Inc, Golden, CO, has received FDA clearance. The VersaLab weighs 1.9 kg (4.1 pounds) and is battery- or line-operated for portability and convenience. The built-in printer provides fast and complete documented results with room for comments. The printout can be submitted for reimbursable studies and inclusion in patient records.


There are 2 models of the VersaLab: The VersaLab SE, which offers color spectral analysis, and the VersaLab LE, which has a black and white waveform trace for basic evaluation and documentation. The unit comes with a bidirectional 4 MHz or 8 MHz frequency continuous wave Doppler transducer.


HEALTHPOINT, Ltd, Dallas, TX, has introduced its recently patented Trizenol topical antiseptic technology. Products using this technology are appropriate for surgical scrubbing, patient preoperative prepping, preoperative body antiseptics, indwelling catheter preparation, and personal health care hand wash. Trizenol has 3 key elements: a fast-acting and broad-spectrum active ethyl alcohol; emollients with surfactants to condition the skin and remove dirt and organic debris; and zinc pythrione, a preservative to help prolong the effect of alcohol. Trizenol offers efficacy and persistence compared with chlorhexidine gluconate and povidone-iodine, as demonstrated by in vivo studies in accordance with the FDA's Tentative Final Monograph for Healthcare Antiseptic Drug Products for surgical scrubbing.



Rochester Medical, Stewartville, MN, has signed an exclusive sales and distribution agreement with Medline Industries, Inc, Mundelein, IL, for Rochester's Release-NF Antibacterial Foley Catheter. Release-NF is an anti-infection Foley catheter that provides sustained release of nitrofurazone into the urethral tract to proactively prevent urinary tract infections caused by Foley catheterization. Under the agreement, Medline will exclusively market, distribute, and sell Release-NF in the United States and its territories.