The National Association For Continence is heading a newly formed council with the objective of establishing national, independent quality standards for disposable adult absorbent products provided by states to Medicaid waiver recipients cared for in their private homes rather than as residents of a state-funded nursing home. This council represents a diversity of patient and caregiver advocacy organizations, industry, clinical nursing expertise and state health agency perspectives.
The goals of this initiative are to: 1) create a single, national set of standards for adult absorbent products for all Americans allowing elimination in redundancy of effort among 50 states, 2) clarify and communicate absorbent product characteristics needed by frail, elderly users who are incontinent so as to simplify and expedite the agency procurement process of sourcing products, 3) optimize value in absorbent product purchases by all states, 4) improve the quality of care of program participants and lower risks of adverse events such as skin breakdown from use of sub-standard products and 5) establish a benchmark for continuous quality improvement over time. No industry funding is being provided in connection with this initiative. NAFC hopes the council can complete this undertaking in the year to come.
Currently, the acquisition of supplies for managing incontinence of Medicaid waiver participants is being targeted to help cut or curb expenses for many states whose budgets are exceeding revenue because of escalating healthcare costs. Medicaid waivers are considered a means of saving the expense of costly nursing home placement by relying on family caregivers in a private home setting. However, some states have no quality standards to specify what types of supplies for incontinence are allowable. Few, if any, states have recognized, evidence-based quality standards. Some products are sourced from manufacturers whose quality control is questionable and subject to variation. In any single geographical location, there can be hundreds of distributors that serve the state as providers. Waiver participants are asked to make a selection from a list of dozens of providers, with little knowledge of how to make an informed choice. “We applaud the leadership exhibited by the National Association For Continence in undertaking this initiative. The development of national independent quality standards for incontinence products is of tremendous value to the states. This gives us a far greater ability to ensure that waiver participants receive a quality product,” stated Emma Forkner, director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Nancy Muller, PhD, executive director of NAFC, will serve as chair of the council. Members of the council consist of individuals responsible for managing the Medicaid waiver programs for their respective states in various regions of the country, specifically California, Texas, Minnesota and South Carolina, technical support representatives from all of the leading nonwovens manufacturers in the U.S., including Kimberly Clark, SCA, First Quality and Attends. Other council members consist of Rory Holmes, the executive director of the Nonwovens Industry Association (INDA), a volunteer caregiver and representative of the National Family Caregivers Association and Dorothy Doughty, MSN, professor of nursing at Emory University and past president of the Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses (WOCN) Society. NAFC has agreed to lead this effort serving largely in a facilitator role.
The National Association For Continence (nafc.org) is a 501(c) 3 corporation whose mission is threefold: 1) to educate the public about the causes, diagnosis categories, treatment options and management alternatives for incontinence, voiding dysfunction, nocturnal enuresis and related pelvic floor disorders; 2) to network with other organizations and agencies to elevate the visibility and priority given to these areas; and 3) to advocate on behalf of consumers who suffer from such symptoms as a result of disease or other illness, obstetrical, surgical or other trauma, or deterioration due to the aging process itself. NAFC is broadly funded by consumers, healthcare professionals and industry. It is the world’s largest and most prolific consumer advocacy organization devoted exclusively to this field.