Nearly 5 million Americans are afflicted with chronic, non-healing wounds usually involving the lower extremities. While most wounds heal quickly, non-healing wounds take longer than four weeks to heal, often causing severe pain and suffering, medical complications, extended hospitals stays and deteriorating health. This serious condition can cause significant impairment in the quality of life and even lead to limb amputation. Non-healing wounds frequently occur in the elderly and people with diabetes, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), chronic vein disorders such as varicose veins and venous thrombosis, and prolonged immobility.
The public health impact of chronic wounds is staggering. An estimated 1.3 - 3 million people in the United States are believed to have pressure ulcers; and as many as 10 to 15 percent of the 20 million individuals with diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic ulcers. Many more people have had venous ulcers or wounds that result from arterial disease. Treating these wounds costs an estimated $5-10 billion each year with additional costs to patients, such as lost productivity.
Lee C. Ruotsi,
To confront a growing community health issue, Catholic Health is announcing the opening of three Advanced Wound Healing Centers later this year and the appointment of Lee C. Ruotsi, MD, FACCWS, UHM, as Medical Director of the program.
Catholic Health Advanced Wound Healing Centers will have locations at the Mercy Ambulatory Care Center (MACC) in Orchard Park; the Caritas Building at Sisters Hospital, St. Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga and Kenmore Mercy Hospital’s Sheridan Health Care Center in Tonawanda. The centers will focus on the evaluation and treatment of chronic, non-healing wounds and the use of the latest generation of single-patient hyperbaric chambers at the St. Joseph Campus and MACC locations. The program will mean the creation of at least 12 new jobs among the centers.
"We're excited to add this vital service to our continuum of care," said Joseph D. McDonald, president and CEO of Catholic Health. "Catholic Health has some of the finest specialists anywhere and our wound care program will complement their practices and give them another powerful resource to help their patients. The opening of these centers fits into our model of patient centered care and aligns with Catholic Health’s 2020 Strategic Plan to deliver high quality, easily accessible care out into the communities we serve”
“Non-healing wounds are a growing concern, particularly in Western New York, which has a rapidly aging population and a high prevalence of diabetes and peripheral artery disease,” Dr. Ruotsi said. “Patient education, and the specialized treatment of wounds in centers dedicated to the full time practice of wound care have proven extremely effective in improving the health and quality of life of patients suffering from wounds which have failed to heal in a routine or natural fashion. These specialized practices, including the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in appropriate cases, have resulted in healing rates of 80 - 90% nationwide as opposed to older traditional approaches which were far less successful".
Catholic Health will partner with Precision Health Care, a Florida-based firm knowledgeable and experienced in the development, operation and administration of wound care and hyperbaric facilities worldwide.
“Catholic Health’s decision to bring the latest advances in wound healing services to the residents of Buffalo further demonstrates their long standing dedication to meeting the needs of the community. Precision Health Care is proud to assist Catholic Health in this endeavor," said Marc Kaiser, president and CEO of Precision Health Care
“Those experiencing non-healing wounds suffer greatly and have their lives impacted severely,” McDonald continued. “As part of our commitment to deliver quality health programs that are effective, timely and accessible, we are pleased to partner with Precision Healthcare to offer this much needed service.”