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MRSA Screenings of ICU Patients Can Reduce Hospital Costs

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 31, 2011

To that extent, the issue is controversial, and solutions should be individualized.

"Here's the other side of the debate," he says. "Some people say we shouldn't have organism specific programs, because they have lots of different types of infections, such as C. diff or multiple resistant gram negative rod infections. Well, our study helps people decide what's best for their hospital. They may wish to put their resources into something else."

The VA setting may be unique, because its population is older, and tends to be sicker with co-morbidities and perhaps higher risk of infections, Filice adds. However, Filice says that it does represent hospital experience because non-VA hospitals may have higher costs. "The cost-savings generated by the screening intervention may have been even greater if the resources used had been evaluated at non-VA unit prices."

At the VA, protocol is to screen for MRSA on admission and discharge from each ward in hospital.  So, that would include most discharges from hospital.

That may be the next major care and cost focus for hospitals hoping to avoid penalties from expected new regulations stemming from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which reduce per discharge reimbursements for hospitals with higher rates of infections acquired within their walls.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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