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Hospital-acquired Infections

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“Hospital-acquired infections take toll on bottom lines”

newspaperlogoSource:  USA Today, Julie Appleby
Link: here

USA Today (November 21, 2006) – Reducing the number of infections patients contract while in hospitals would not only benefit patients but also hospitals’ profits.

Researchers say the finding in a study out Monday counters an assumption that hospitals make money on patients who fall ill with a hospital-acquired infection because they often receive higher payments from insurers for dealing with complicated cases. But the higher payments do not cover the additional costs.

“This adds economic strength to the notion that we ought to be doing away with infections,” says Richard Shannon, co-author of the study and vice chair of clinical affairs in the department of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

…His study showed an average $26,839 loss to the hospital for each patient who came down with one type of infection called a central-line-associated bloodstream infection. A central line is a catheter placed into a vein to provide fluids or medication. Of 54 patients who got that type of infection during a three-year period at the one hospital studied, only four resulted in a break-even or profit for the hospital.

That’s because the costs of caring for a patient who gets an infection usually far exceed the amount the facility is paid by insurers, says the study, one of three studies on the effects of hospital-acquired infections published in the American Journal of Medical Quality.

…”Hospital-acquired infection is not an anticipated byproduct of taking care of the very ill,” says David Nash, editor of the journal and chairman of the Department of Health Policy at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. “It’s a failure in the process of how medical care is delivered.”

Source:  USA Today, Julie Appleby
Link: here