Month: August 2016

UHMS and the US Wound Registry discuss Medicare reimbursement issues

The Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Registry (HBOTR) has released an important paper detailing its work in Medicare reimbursement issues.

“Rapid analysis of hyperbaric oxygen therapy registry data for reimbursement purposes,” a technical paper by Caroline E. Fife, Helen Gelly, David Walker and Kristen Allison Eckert is available as an epub-ahead-of-print download to members of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. Just log in and go to:

Jointly sponsored by the UHMS and the US Wound Registry (USWR), the HBOTR recently provided national data quickly to the RUC on thousands of patients who underwent HBO2 in order to help establish a fair analysis of the physician work of hyperbaric chamber supervision.

Medicare reimbursement rates for all physician services are established via a complex methodology utilizing data provided by the American Medical Association (AMA)/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC), which values the “relative work” and practice expense of CPT codes and makes recommendations regarding valuations to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The authors note: “It is vital that hyperbaric practitioners engage in registry submission if they are to survive the titanic shift in healthcare payment reform under MACRA (Medicare Access & Chip Reauthorization Act of 2015).”

Participation in a Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) can satisfy the requirement for specialty registry participation under “Meaningful Use” of an Electronic Health Record and counts as 15% of the provider’s total score in MACRA’s Merit Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Hyperbaric practitioners who report quality measures through the HBOTR can earn bonus points for the Quality Reporting portion of MIPS (50% of the total score), particularly if they report safety, appropriate use, or outcome quality measures. While no such hyperbaric measures are available in the Physician Quality Reporting System, the UHMS developed hyperbaric safety, outcome, and appropriate use measures in partnership with the USWR, which can be reported through that QCDR and whose data become part of the HBOTR.

To read the paper in its entirety, go to:

Enjoy the fruits of your LABOR with 20% off registration on all UHMS online educational programs August 29-September 5, 2016

Work hard. Save now.

You work hard, and the UHMS would like to reward you with 20% off all registrations August 29-September 5, 2016, on any educational programs at the UHMS Online Continuing Educational Portal.  Currently, there are more than 14 programs to choose from that include Fast-Tracks, Journal-Based CME and longer Symposiums on hyperbaric medicine, diving medicine and wound care.

Benefits of fulfilling your CME/CEU requirements with UHMS Online Education:

  • Work at your own pace and start and stop as you like
  • Receive CME/CEU credit immediately upon completion of the program
  • Access the program anywhere there is an internet connect and supported browser
  • All programs are accredited by UHMS for Physician CME, NBDHMT Category A/B, Nursing/RRT contact hours and MOC for ABPM Physicians
  • Up-to-date content from internationally recognized expert faculty
  • UHMS Members receive significant discounts up to 40%
  • Receive your “12 for 12” recommended hours for less than $150!

Create a free account today!  

Already have an account?  Login any time to register for any of our educational programs!


Symposium on Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Management (20 CME/CEU Hours)
Click here to access and purchase the course now

Mayo Clinic Hyperbaric Medicine 2015 (15.50 CME/CEU hours)
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UHM Journal-Based CME Volume 42, Issue 1 (2 CME/CEU hours)
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UHM Journal-Based CME Volume 42, Issue 2  (2 CME/CEU hours)
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UHM Journal-Based CME Volume 42, Issue 3  (2 CME/CEU hours)
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UHM Journal-Based CME Volume 42, Issue 4  (2 CME/CEU hours)
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UHM Journal-Based CME Volume 42, Issue 5  (2 CME/CEU hours)
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UHM Journal-Based CME Volume 42, Issue 6  (2 CME/CEU hours)
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UHM Journal-Based CME Volume 43, Issue 1  (2 CME/CEU hours)
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Fast Track 1: Best Practices in Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care: GRADE, CPG’s, Future Research (4 CME/CEU hours)
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Fast Track 2: Wound Care: NPWT, Surgical Treatment of Wounds, Case Studies (4.5 CME/CEU hours)
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Fast Track 3: Diver Fatalities, Fitness to Dive, Stresses in Diving and Case Studies (4.5 CME/CEU hours)
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Fast Track 4: Hyperbaric Facility Operations (Staffing roles, UHMS Accreditation, Practice Models and NFPA Update) (4.5 CME/CEU hours)
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Fast Track 5: Diabetic Foot Ulcers (DFU), Venous Ulcers and Fluorescence Vascular Angiography (FVA) in Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care (5.5 CME/CEU hours)
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Accreditation Statement:
The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

*Hours may vary depending on accrediting organization.  Please see table of contents for full designation statements.  Registration costs vary for Associate Members, Regular Members and Non-Members.

Be safe and enjoy this Labor Day!

CUHMA registration is open

Important Notice from CUHMA regarding online meeting registration

It has come to our attention over the past few days that a glitch recently developed in the registration page on our website for the 7th CUHMA Annual Scientific Meeting.  Several people who were trying to register either received a terminal ‘error’ message when they tried to pay, or believe that they have registered and paid, but nothing came through on the website.

Our IT Manager has now corrected the glitch. Although it appears to have affected mainly American registrants, we are uncertain how widespread the problem was. We are therefore, asking anyone who either received the error message, OR did not receive an e-mail confirming their registration for the CUHMA conference, to please contact me at: As a result of this glitch, the ASM Planning Committee has decided to extend the 10% early-bird discount on registration for this year’s conference until 27 Aug 2016.

This year’s conference will be held in Vancouver, BC, from 9-11 Sept 2016 at Simon Fraser University’s Segal Building, Harbour Centre.  Please go to our new website: for registration.  Additional information includes:

Conference – This year’s conference will include both a Hyperbaric Medicine Day on Sat, 10 Sept 2016 and a Diving Medicine Day on Sun, 11 Sept 2016.  Morning and afternoon refreshment breaks and lunch are included with registration for the conference.  The final Scientific Program is now available on-line.  Block-bookings for discounted hotels in the area have now expired, however a list of hotels within 10 min walking distance of the conference venue are still listed on our website. In addition to the early-bird discount, current members of CUHMA receive an additional 10% discount on registration.  If you decide to join CUHMA at the time of registration, you will be entitled to this additional discount; membership can be applied for on-line at the same time as registration for the conference.

HETS (Hyperbaric Emergency Team Simulation) Pre-course – Scheduled for Fri, 9 Sept 2016, ‘early-bird’ registration has also been extended to 27 Aug 2016.  This intensive course is designed to meet the demands for certification and Continuing Professional Development in Hyperbaric Medicine. The new Diploma in Hyperbaric Medicine available shortly from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada requires the use of simulation in training.  The HETS course has now been approved for 22.5 MOC Section 3 (FRCPC) and 7.5 Mainpro+ (CCFP) study credits.  The course involves hands-on participation, decision-making skills and expert debriefing for multiple complex scenarios that cover key areas of expertise for both multi-place and mono-place hyperbaric chambers.  Watch an exciting teaser-trailer video of what to expect at: For more information and registration, click: The course will be conducted at CESEI, Vancouver General Hospital (not the SFU Harbour Centre conference site).

Tour of Shearwater Research – A unique opportunity to learn more about the development and manufacturing of dive computers, Shearwater Research is offering a tour of their new facility in Richmond, BC on Fri, 9 Sept 2016 from 13.00 – 15.30h. There is no charge for this tour, and transportation will be provided to and from the Segal Building.

Welcome Reception – Hosted by Simon Fraser University at the beautiful Simon Fraser Observatory on Fri, 9 Sept 2016; a full buffet dinner is included courtesy of our hosts. Transportation to and from the Observatory will be provided from the Segal Building Harbour Centre conference site, departing at 18.30h.  The Welcome Reception is included with conference registration, but please indicate during registration whether or not you plan to attend so that we can plan for transportation accordingly.

Dinner & Awards Banquet – Always a highlight of each year’s scientific conference, this event will be held at the Segal Building conference site on Sat, 10 Sept 2016 from 19.00 – 22.00h.  The cost will be $65.00 per person for a unique buffet-style dinner, including wine and door prizes.  A wide variety of starters, entrees and desserts will be available.

Hope to see all of you in Vancouver!

Best regards,

Debbie L. Pestell, MD
Planning Committee, CUHMA 2016 Vancouver
Board of Directors, 2016 President-elect

UHMS Seeks Grant Funding for Scientific Writer

Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society grant proposal request for part-time scientific writer 


The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) is seeking funding to contract with a scientific writer to work with the various UHMS committees for the purpose to assist them in authoring works in the fields of undersea and hyperbaric medicine such as: position letters and statements, creating commentary on published works, gathering and creating metadata, etc. This resource is expected to have a positive material effect for the membership.


The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) is an international scientific organization which was founded in 1967 to foster exchange of data on the physiology and medicine of commercial and military diving. Over the intervening years, the interests of the Society have enlarged to include clinical hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The society has grown to over 2,000 members and has established the largest repository of diving and hyperbaric research collected in one place. Clinical information, an extensive bibliographic database of thousands of scientific papers, as well as books, and technical reports which represent the results of over 100 years of research by military and university laborato­ries around the world are contained in the UHMS Schilling Library, holdings are now part of the Duke University Library, Durham, NC. The results of ongoing research and clinical aspects of undersea and hyperbaric medicine are reported annually at scientific meetings and in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine published bi-monthly.

The UHMS is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation. The board of directors (board), elected by the membership oversees the organization’s mission and adherence to its bylaws. The president of the board is responsible for choosing the UHMS committees’ chairs. There are numerous standing committees and a few ad hoc ones as well. The board hires the executive director who oversees the organization and executes the policy of the board.

The Society shall be international in scope. Its primary purposes shall be:

  1. to provide a forum for professional scientific communication among individuals and groups involved in basic and applied studies concerned with life sciences and human factors aspects of the undersea environment and hyperbaric medicine.
  2. to promote cooperation between the life sciences and other disciplines concerned with undersea activity and hyperbaric medicine.
  3. to develop and promote educational activities and other programs, which improve the scientific knowledge of matters related to undersea and hyperbaric environments and the accepted applications of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the membership, as well as physicians and allied health professionals, divers, diver technicians and the public at large.
  4. to provide a source of information and support in the clinical practice of hyperbaric medicine and to stay abreast of legislative, legal, and regulatory changes in the field.
  5. to provide a means by which hyperbaric facility directors/owners will have an opportunity to request an accreditation survey of their facility for safety, staffing and verifying the adequacy of the professional medical application of hyperbaric therapy.

The UHMS has long been regarded as the pre-eminent scientific organization in the fields of undersea and hyperbaric medicine. The UHMS continues to shoulder the burden of producing the scientific rationale that allows the field to progress. However, over the past few years, globally the fields and medicine in general have been beleaguered with regulatory changes and the UHMS is underfunded to be able to adequately respond with the scientific information needed for each issue being presented.

The UHMS can be a central force, as it has in the past for positive change but needs additional and external funding to accomplish this goal.


The UHMS has historically been the organization regulatory bodies have referenced including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), particularly with regard to the scientifically backed indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO2).

This goes back to the need for meticulous scrutiny of emerging clinical applications of HBO2, the UHMS established the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Committee in 1976. The committee was charged with the responsibility of continuously reviewing the research and clinical data and rendering recommendations regarding clinical efficacy and safety of HBO2. To achieve this goal, the multidisciplinary committee is comprised of practitioners and scientific investigators.

Since, 1976, the committee has met annually to review research and clinical data. From the twenty-eight indications for which third party reimbursement was recommended in the 1976 and 1979 reports, the number of approved indications has been refined to fourteen in the 2014 report. These indications are those for which in vitro and in vivo pre-clinical research data as well as extensive positive clinical experience and study have become convincing.

Evidence considered by the committee includes sound physiologic rationale; in vivo or in vitro studies that demonstrate effectiveness; controlled animal studies; prospective controlled clinical studies; and extensive clinical experience from multiple, recognized hyperbaric medicine centers.

The committee also reviews cost effectiveness and has established guidelines for each entity. Results show that, in addition to its clinical efficacy, HBO2 therapy yields direct cost savings by successfully resolving a high percentage of difficult and expensive disorders, thereby minimizing prolonged healthcare interventions.

The committee recommends third party reimbursement of HBO2 for the disorders included in the accepted conditions category. Currently, most insurance carriers have established HBO2 reimbursement policies.

The need to support the field with scientific literature is unprecedented at this point in the fields’ existence.

Specifically, the major issues being experienced at this point are third party payor challenges to the UHMS approved indications including these listed below.

  • Misinterpretation of UHMS diagnoses which do not meet the intent of the author(s)
  • Deletion of indications potentially without proper analysis
  • Deletion of indications as a result of a poorly defined crosswalk between ICD-9 and ICD-10


To address the challenges the UHMS is seeking to fund a scientific writer to assist the UHMS committee chairs in authoring scientific works, i.e. position statements, letters, etc. that will have a positive and meaningful impact on individuals participating in the fields of undersea and hyperbaric medicine.

The program will begin immediately as funding comes into the program for the scientific writer and will end when the funding runs out. This position is viewed as being one that could and should go into perpetuity and therefore the UHMS will be seeking to fund the need into the future.

When funded, the scientific writer will be assigned to the highest priority items which at this point are:

  • Assist in authoring a position on the elimination of radiation codes and compromised flap in the process of the ICD-9 to ICD-10 transition
  • Compiling scientific literature and performing analysis on the indications most at risk for challenge by third-party payors


The cost of the position is estimated to be eighty thousand dollars – US ($80,000.00) annually for approximately 1000 hours.

100% of the contributions going to this restricted grant request will be used for the project as it is described.


Individuals or organizations wanting to contribute to this specific grant, please mail funds to the UHMS office specifically as described below. Checks will be made out to the UHMS and in the Memo line please write Scientific Writer Fund.

Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society
Scientific Writer Grant
631 US Highway 1
Suite 307
North Palm Beach, FL 33408

If you have any questions, please contact John S. Peters, Executive Director UHMS.

Contributions to the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society—a 501(c)(3) charitable organization—are tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes as provided under the Internal Revenue Code.

Donors should consult their own tax advisor regarding the specific deductibility of their charitable contributions.