Is Today’s Over-Prescription of Powered Mattress Systems the Greatest Preventable Cost in Healthcare?

New research indicates it may often be a major unnecessary cost in patient care.


Pressure ulcers remain a major preventable cost in healthcare today.

Consider the data:

  • In the U.S alone, 2.5 million health care patients are affected by pressure ulcers
  • Approximately 60,000 of those patients dying each year as a result of ulcer co-morbidities
  • The financial costs of pressure ulcers in the United States are estimated at $9.1 – $11.6 billion per year, in addition to the untold patient and family suffering. (1)

In 2008, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) declined to pay for a host of Hospital Acquired Indications (HAI) , including increased inpatient Length of Stay (LOS) or Re-admissions (READ) related to nosocomial infections and pressure ulcer development. (2)

Are Powered Mattress Systems Appropriate for ALL Patients?

As a result of the CMS 2008 decision, clinical mattress manufacturers have gladly sold an ever growing array of Powered Low Air Loss and Alternating Mattress System to healthcare institutions. The sales premise has largely been that a powered, one-size-fits-all mattress system philosophy would help reduce pressure ulcer incidence and prevalence among all patients, and at lower cost. In fact, bed purchase / rental costs have skyrocketed without a commensurate reduction in ulcer prevalence or improvement in management.

There is no conclusive evidence about the superiority of any type of support surface for the treatment of existing pressure ulcers. (3)

Powered Mattress Systems may not be the best choice for many patients.

This new research also supports a preponderance of clinical experience that powered mattress system noise, heat, and movement can cause insomnia and can induce a non-specific myalgia due to patients’ unconscious isometric muscle tensioning in an attempt to remain stationary on a moving surface. These and other factors can adversely affect the sensate / semi-ambulatory patient Length-of-Stay and clinical outcomes.

Pressure Mapping is an incomplete Picture

One of the major challenges related to pressure ulcer prevention and management is a meaningful mattress evaluation and design process.

For over 60 years, patient / mattress interface pressure mapping has been the only mattress design and evaluation system utilized by the healthcare industry. Our extensive research demonstrates that interface pressure and pressure-mapping alone is not a meaningful real-time indicator of relative risk of pressure-related tissue ischemia and subsequent pressure ulcer development.

New Mattress Evaluation / Design Technology

Life Support Technologies group (Tarrytown, NY) developed a new mattress system evaluation and design technology to simultaneously measure patient / mattress interface pressure and real-time Deep Tissue Oxygen Saturation values in anatomical tissues at greatest risk for pressure ulcer development.

Using this approach, our physician and engineering researchers evaluated 16 of the most common equalizing, low air loss and alternating mattress systems on the market today.

This new Mattress System Evaluation and Design Technology was utilized to help design OXY-MAT™, the next generation of equalizing, non-powered mattress system. OXY-MAT™ maximizes patient immersion and pressure equalization to help maximize blood perfusion and deep tissue oxygen values naturally. Several U.S. patents either have been awarded or are currently pending.

Most Patients should be on non-Powered Systems

Our test results support the hypothesis that most sensate and semi-ambulatory patients maintain higher natural blood perfusion values on non-powered immersion mattress systems.

The results also demonstrate that the majority of sensate and semi-ambulatory hospitalized and / or long-term care in-patients (90% + of in-patients) that are able to effect meaningful movement and induce Normal Active Hyperemia and clinically do not require powered mattress systems.

OXY-MAT™ is successfully replacing powered mattress systems in hospitals, acute rehabilitation and long term care facilities at lower cost and with improved outcomes, as reported by Physician, Nursing and Administrative staff. (see Customer Recommendations List)

Four OXY-MAT Designs

Four models of OXY-MAT™ have been developed: the original clinical version, a home care version, a bariatric model for patients up to 800 lbs, and one specifically used during monoplace chamber Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

Approved By CMS / Medicare / Medicaid for Home-Care Reimbursement

CMS has recently approved the OXY-MAT™ Home Care (HC) model for therapeutic home use by Medicare beneficiaries with qualifying, complex wounds. Durable Medical Equipment (DME) companies who sell or lease the OXY-MAT™ Home Care model to qualified patients with a prescription, are paid by CMS, under Code E0373.

OXY-MAT™ may be Leased or Purchased

In addition to research pointing to the clinical efficacy of using a non-powered mattress system to reduce pressure ulcers, the cost savings are significant compared to that of using powered, off-loading systems: OXY-MAT™ costs a small fraction of high-end powered systems being sold or leased.

A PubMed Abstract is available

Published paper detailing development of the OXY-MAT™:

Butler G, Kenyon D, Golembe E, et al. Oxy-Mat Mattress System Development Utilizing Simultaneous Measurement of Interface Pressure and Deep Tissue Oxygen Saturation. Surg Tech Int. 2015;XXVI:71-82.

To ORDER a PDF of the full paper:*10ca421d2f16b6310f50&sbid=SSMSB1449522539.20641&redirect=yes

For more information about OXY-MAT™ contact Off-Loading Technologies, Inc. at: E-MAIL:

PHONE: 800.547.9899



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