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Study Estimates Costs of Health Care-Associated Infections

Bloodstream infections top the list (September 2)

Total annual costs for five major health care-associated infections (HAIs) were $9.8 billion, with surgical-site infections contributing the most to overall costs, according to a new report in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers reviewed published medical literature for 1986 through April 2013. For estimates of HAI incidence, the authors used the National Healthcare Safety Network of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the results, on a per-case basis, central line-associated bloodstream infections were the most costly HAIs at $45,814, followed by ventilator-associated pneumonia at $40,144, surgical-site infections at $20,785, Clostridium difficile infections at $11,285 and catheter-associated urinary tract infections at $896.

“While quality improvement initiatives have decreased HAI incidence and costs, much more remains to be done. As hospitals realize savings from prevention of these complications under payment reforms, they may be more likely to invest in such strategies,” the study concludes.

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine; September 2, 2013.

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