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This Hospital Infection Don't Get No Respect

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, May 30, 2013

CAUTI Cost Calculator


CAUTI Cost Calculator. Source: CatheterOut.org

That's because patients who develop urinary tract infections are usually so sick, they have many serious diagnoses that merit payment under different diagnostic related group codes. "The hospitals get reimbursed anyway," Saint says

It was anticipated that like CLABSI, CAUTI would be folded into the value-based purchasing algorithm Oct. 1, 2014. But inconsistency in the way various hospitals measure CAUTIs—for example, how many colony forming units a urine sample must have before it's classified as infected, has prompted the CDC to return to the measurement board for a standard definition.

For Saint and Krein, there are positive signs. Hospitals across the country are getting better. "We're increasingly seeing hospitals ask if a patient still needs that Foley." A new survey being sent out to hospitals across the country this year will update progress.

At the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center, Saint and Krein and their colleagues have been working on catheter use "since before it was sexy to study CAUTI," he says. They've even developed a CAUTI cost calculator, that should get hospital finance chiefs interested in understanding the impact CAUTI has on hospital bottom lines.

At long last, he hopes, CAUTIs may get the respect they deserve. Eventually.


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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