Dialysis shunts are surgical wounds

CMS has been answering questions regarding dialysis shunts and surgical wound rules. In short, the dialysis shunt is a surgical wound, but the 30 day rule does not apply. It is considered a surgical wound as long as it is in place. Read below for the official information:

Question: M1342 Surgical Wound –implanted venous device: I am confused by one of the CMS OASIS Q&As. The answer to Q105.3 states that an implanted venous device is considered a surgical wound until it has been epithelialized completed for 30 days at which time it becomes a scar. The next sentence of the answer says that the site is considered a surgical wound as long as the device is in place. Can you clarify this?

Answer from CMS: An implanted venous access device is considered a current surgical wound as long as it is implanted in the patient’s body.

When first implanted, the incision is the surgical wound. The assessing clinician will follow the 12/09 WOCN guidance to determine the healing status of the incision. Once it is fully epithelialized, the site due to the implanted device will remain a current surgical wound with a status of “Newly epithelialized” for as long as it is present in the patient’s body, unless it later develops complications. This guidance clarifies and supersedes CMS OASIS Q&A Category 4b, Q105.3.

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