The following is a summary of “Economic Impact of Living Cell Tissue Products in Treating Diabetic Foot Ulcers and Venous Leg Ulcers in Patients with Commercial Insurance: A Retrospective Matched-Cohort Study,” published in the May 2023 issue of Critical Care by Barbul, et al.
For a study, researchers sought to determine the variation in costs when cellular and/or tissue-based products (CTPs) were used to treat diabetic foot ulcers and venous leg ulcers, specifically when commercial insurance carriers pay the costs.
A retrospective matched-cohort intent-to-treat design was employed, utilizing commercial insurance claims data from January 2010 to June 2018. Study participants were matched based on the Charlson Comorbidity Index, age, sex, type of wound, and geographic location within the US. The analysis included patients treated with a bilayered living cell construct (BLCC), dermal skin substitute (DSS), or cryopreserved human skin (CHSA).
Significant differences were observed in wound-related costs and the number of CTP applications across the different CTPs. CHSA had significantly lower costs than BLCC and DSS at all time intervals examined (60, 90, and 180 days, and one year after the first CTP application). Additionally, CHSA was associated with a lower rate of amputations at one year compared to DSS (14.9% vs. 19.7%, P = .03).
The study findings demonstrated a statistically significant cost reduction in treating diabetic foot ulcers (BLCC, DSS, CHSA) and venous leg ulcers (BLCC, CHSA) with CHSA compared to other CTPs when commercial insurance is involved. The reduction can be attributed to fewer applications, lower wound care costs, and comparable or lower incidence of amputations. The findings aligned with previous studies that examined Medicare expenditures in the context.