How do I know if my hospital could support an outpatient wound care center?

At any given time, 2% of the population has a chronic wound. Diabetes potentiates many chronic wounds and is steadily increasing. Wound care services should be in even more in demand in the future. There is no “magic number” of patients in an area or census of a hospital that determines that a wound care program will be successful. MATRIX consultants can discuss your particular situation and help you determine if a wound center would be beneficial for your hospital.
How much does it cost to start a wound center?

Wound center start up and operational costs vary depending on program size, renovation or new building costs, and location in the country. In general one could expect $400,000 – $750,000 to start up a moderately sized program if monoplace chambers are used. MATRIX can work with you to develop a detailed wound center proforma for your particular market using your construction costs, pay scales, and current equipment quotes. After assessing your market, we will determine an estimated number of patient visits expected, determine a reasonable “per visit” reimbursement rate using your hospital’s wage index and reimbursement scales, and project how much revenue you will likely receive. MATRIX consultants will work with you to put as much detail as possible into the proforma so there are no surprises when a project is implemented.

Will MATRIX assume some of the capital expense for a start-up?

Yes. If after reviewing your particular healthcare environment MATRIX feels that a wound care clinic would be successful, MATRIX will work with your hospital to determine the best business model for all parties involved. Sometimes we own equipment, sometimes we provide staff, sometimes we provide everything and sometimes we just provide consulting. Every MATRIX contract is customized for our hospital partner and is just as unique as each hospital.

How long does it take to start a wound center?

The development timeline for an outpatient wound center is variable. Generally, from the time a decision is made to move forward (contract is signed) a center can be operational within 6-8 months if there are no permitting delays. Construction or renovation takes the most time and could cause the project timeline to be extended. Hyperbaric equipment procurement and installation can usually be accomplished in about 3 months, unless a Multiplace chamber is preferred which could take much longer than 12 months.

Can I start a wound center without hyperbarics?

It is definitely possible to start an outpatient wound care center without hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Outpatient “wound care only” services are a great benefit to your patient population, but you must obtain a large patient volume to make this model profitable. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an “adjunctive” therapy in wound care, but for some patients, it is the only therapy that helps them heal their’ wounds. The facility reimbursement for hyperbaric treatments is substantial and generally helps cover some of the costs of providing wound care treatments that reimburse at a much lower rate. Some facilities prefer to start with “wound care only” services and add hyperbarics at a future date, after a large patient base is established. MATRIX does not always recommend this model, especially if there is a moderate amount of competition in your area or if construction for hyperbaric services will disrupt wound center operations at a later date. MATRIX will discuss all service line strategies with your team and help determine the best way to increase hospital services and increase hospital profits.

How much revenue can a wound center provide to a hospital?

This depends on the size of the program and the cost to develop and operate the program. For established wound care and hyperbaric medicine programs, the addition of over $1,000,000 to the hospital’s bottom line annually is common. The wound center will also generate ancillary services or “spin offs” also contributing to the bottom line.

MATRIX can work with you to develop a realistic proforma showing what your hospital can likely receive for providing wound care and hyperbaric services.

What types of ancillary services are utilized to support a wound center?

Hospital services utilization should increase with the implementation of a comprehensive wound care and hyperbarics program. Most new patients will have lab work, often including tissue or bone cultures. Radiologic services such as x-rays, MRIs, and bone scans are also commonly ordered diagnostics. If a patient is suspected of having a “blood flow” issue, they will be referred to the vascular lab for diagnostics, and then to an interventional lab to try to improve the flow. Surgical services will be used for complex or extremely painful debridements and occasionally amputations will be performed. Supportive services such as P.T., O.T., and Nutritional services are also utilized by some wound care patients.

What type of staff do I need to run a wound center?

A program director is needed to “oversee” all clinic operations. This person has many administrative functions, but should understand the clinical indications and therapies so would preferably have a clinical background. A charge nurse is generally needed to oversee the clinical practice and MATRIX usually recommends a Community Education Liaison to promote the program.

The most important staff attribute for general wound center staff is a passion for providing outstanding patient care. Though wound care and hyperbaric experienced and/or certified nurses, physical therapists, and technicians are a plus, these extra credentials are not essential.

MATRIX has developed a staffing matrix to assist with the recruitment and hiring of appropriate staff members for any sized wound care program. We can discuss with you the current employees that you would like to transition to the wound center and then help you to advertize for the other essential employees needed for your program.

How do I provide training for my staff?

MATRIX provides a 40-hour National Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Technology approved “Comprehensive Introduction to Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care” course for its client hospitals. Physicians can also attend this course, but they may prefer to attend an outside course where they can network with other hyperbaric and wound care physicians around the country. MATRIX can facilitate physician training at one of these courses. Additional training modules in Wound Care Assessment and Chronic Wound Care are also available. Complete orientations for all job descriptions are provided by MATRIX, as are annual skills validations. MATRIX staff will provide “hands-on” instruction for clinicians new to wound care and hyperbarics. We will oversee all care until the staff is well prepared to provide wound care and hyperbaric services.

What benefit will I receive from having a consultant help with a wound center start-up?

MATRIX wound care and hyperbaric consultants are experienced in all types of start-up and operations of wound care and hyperbaric service lines. We can save you valuable time because we know the steps that must be taken in designing and building a compliant wound care program. We have seen many mistakes made when hospitals do startups without assistance of experienced consultants. MATRIX appreciates that hospital administrators want to “own” the wound center service lines. As our tag line states, we want to be your “Foundation for Growth” to help you avoid the costly mistakes in developing your wound care service line.

How do I get started?

Give me a call. I will personally discuss your particular hospital situation with you and answer all of your questions. If you then decide you want to know more, I will forward you a “Hospital Survey” for you to fill out that will give us some specific information needed to develop a detailed wound center proforma. The proforma will depict all expenses and income expected from the addition of a wound care department. Once the proforma is complete we then discuss possible business models and contract specifics.

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American College of Hyperbaric Medicine


American Diabetes Association


Association for the Advancement of Wound Care


Best Publishing


Baromedical Nurses Association


Diver’s Alert Network


HBO Evidence


Save a Leg, Save a Life Foundation


Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society


Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nurses Society