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UHMS DOI Article Index

Hyperbaric medicine today: an historically noble discipline challenged by loss of critical access and overutilization – invited commentary

  • DOI Number: 10.22462/1.2.2017.2
  • Journal: Undersea Hyperb Med. 2017; 44(1): 5-10
  • Author(s): Richard Clarke, CHT

As the title implies, much appears amiss with hyperbaric medicine. Long recognized for its life-saving, CNS-sparing, infection fighting and tissue-salving attributes, its current application has been rightly called into question by a broad cross-section of health care delivery system stakeholders [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. This paper will examine what lies behind the stunning loss of availability for a majority of the Federal Drug Administration-approved uses, arguably those for which patients have the most to gain. It will address overutilization in the context of an erosion of practice standards and widespread manipulation of the reimbursement process. It will make suggestions aimed at restoring its broader availability across the full extent of FDA-approved uses. Finally, it offers guidance to ensure that HBO2 therapy is employed only when medically necessary by adoption of the drug administration “rights” principle, namely the right indication for the right patient at the right time and only for the right amount of time.