Sepsis: Ohio Provides Hospitals with a Battle Plan

John Commins, June 26, 2017

Hospitals and health systems looking for a blueprint for fighting the deadly disease should look to Ohio, where an aggressive campaign is being waged and mortality rates are falling.

The fight against sepsis is back in the news, but for those clinicians who spend their days combatting the deadly epidemic, the story never went away.

Health systems across the nation wrestle with a problem that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is responsible for $24 billion in hospital costs each year.


The New War On Sepsis


Sepsis kills 258,000 people each year in the United States and costs more than $24 billion. It represents 6.2% of all hospital costs across the nation, which makes it the most expensive condition in the nation's healthcare system, according to the federal government's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.

HCUP analysis showed that while total hospital care expenditures have remained fairly stable, spending for sepsis rose 19% from 2011 to 2013, more than double the rate for all hospitalizations.

The study revealed that the mean expense per stay associated with those hospitalizations was over $18,000 in 2013, making hospitalizations from sepsis 70% more expensive than the average stay.

Sepsis resulted in nearly 1.3 million discharges that year from U.S. hospitals, an increase of 19% from 2011. Sepsis was also the most expensive hospital condition billed to Medicare, accounting for 8.2% of all Medicare costs incurred in 2013.

Hospitals and health systems that are looking for a blueprint for fighting the deadly disease should look to Ohio, where an aggressive campaign is being waged.

In 2015, Ohio's hospitals began a campaign to reduce sepsis encounters and related deaths by 30% by 2018. Less than one year after the initiative began, the Ohio Hospital Association reported an 8% reduction in mortality.

In 2012, the Buckeye State's 220 hospitals reported 26,299 encounters with severe sepsis and septic shock, resulting in 6,250 deaths. In 2015, those numbers had ballooned to 38,487 reported encounters and 7,478 deaths.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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