Healthcare=07/26/10

Oculus to benefit from health care reforms/Loralee

PETALUMA – Oculus Innovative Sciences (NASDAQ: OCLS) hopes sweeping changes in the way physicians, hospitals and nursing homes are reimbursed under the new federal health care rules will bring its wound care product into wide use.

The emphasis on preventative care and the move toward performance-based pay should favor the infection-killing properties of Microcyn, said Oculus founder, president and CEO Hoji Alimi.

"It's very clear that mitigation and how to prevent disease will come to the forefront of what hospitals and physicians will be paid for," said Mr. Alimi. "The more efficient doctors and institutions will be rewarded."

The bill includes a provision to establish a value-based payment modifier to increase reimbursements for Medicare physicians that deliver high-quality care at low cost and reduce payments for those who don't.

"Traditional medical treatment waits for symptoms to appear – redness and swelling in the case of an infection. Then the condition is already established and requires antibiotics," said Mr. Alimi, pointing out that cleaning surgical wounds with highly oxygenated Microcyn prevents infection from occurring.

Reducing staph infections in hospital patients will be increasingly vital, as prolonged stays will result in significantly reduced insurance payments.

The reform measures also include pilot payment bundling arrangements for Medicare patient services. All services involved in procedures such as knee-replacement or others would be bundled during a 30-day period. Hospitals that had to readmit patients for further treatment would be penalized.

As the reforms are phased in, experts say nursing homes will have to change the way they treat bedsores and diabetic ulcers. Instead of receiving payment each time a pressure or diabetic ulcer is treated, they'll receive only one payment, which will cover a 30-day healing process or the patient must be hospitalized.

To prove the efficacy of Microcyn in that scenario, Oculus flooded several nursing homes with the solution for a period of 30 days.

"With unlimited, free access to Microcyn, one home closed 25 ulcers during that period," said Mr. Alimi.

Diagnostics and early treatment of conditions leading to disease will be key to developers of devices and pharmaceuticals as reforms are phased in, he said.

For instance, Johnson & Johnson recently acquired the makers of Dyamid, which mitigates consequences of type 1 diabetes.

Early detection and successful treatment are especially necessary in the treatment of diabetes, which in its advanced stages leads to 100,000 amputations each year.

When blood flow to the extremities is drastically reduced due to diabetes, antibiotics are slow to reach ulcers and so is wound-healing oxygen.

"There are thousands of dollars spent treating ulcers and amputating untreatable limbs. If healthcare reform fulfills its promises, a $28 bottle of Microcyn could be used more successfully, adding years to the patient's life," said Mr. Alimi.