Specialty Support Surfaces: A Cost Containment Perspective

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Challenged by annual expenditures exceeding $5.9 million dollars for specialty support surface rentals, the National Center for Cost Containment (NCCC), an office of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), organized a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to identify strategies for the appropriate use and cost-containment of specialty support surfaces.

A survey of utilization patterns revealed that some VA facilities (n = 20) had no expenditures for rental of specialty support surfaces while others (n = 13) spent over $100,000 per facility on rental expenditures. Many facilities had a significant cost savings by owning specialty support surfaces.

A decision-making tree, emphasizing first line devices, was developed to assist in containing expenditures. It was recommended that this algorithm be used in conjunction with the Specialty Support Surface Guidelines developed by the TAG. It is anticipated that this information may assist both VA and non-VA healthcare facilities to contain costs in the utilization of specialty support surfaces.

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