Healthcare associated infections (HAIs) arising in US acute care hospitals cost America as much as US$147 billion annually, according to a report recently published in the Journal of Medical Economics online edition. The report, by MedERA and funded by an unrestricted educational grant from UMF Corporation, estimates for the first time the societal cost of HAIs attributed to acute care hospitals.
“The MedERA report helps to reveal the true scope and magnitude of the HAI problem in America, which supports our view that HAIs are at epidemic levels. Clearly, immediate intervention is needed to address this problem as rapidly and completely as possible.
“Before this report, economic research into HAIs mostly focused on hospitals or insurers instead of the patients they served,” said Albert Marchetti, MD, president and medical director of MedERA.
“Full societal costs, which are more inclusive than commonly reported direct hospital costs, have never been fully measured or reported. We believe patients rightfully deserve attention, too, because they not only bear out-of-pocket expenses for HAIs but also suffer the unacceptable clinical consequences of heightened morbidity and mortality as well as resultant losses of productivity and wage,” Dr Marchetti added.
The report, ‘Economic Burden of Healthcare-Associated Infections in U.S. Acute Care Hospitals – Societal Perspective’, estimates that HAIs cost the US from US$96 billion to US$147 billion annually.
Dr Marchetti believes these costs could actually be even higher and calls for new epidemiologic research to update infection rates and patient mortality.
By comparison, an earlier report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated the direct medical costs of HAIs to US hospitals as US$28.4 billion to US$33.8 billion per year.
“The MedERA research updates these numbers and calculates the full economic impact of HAIs on all of America – one that comprises a toll not only on the hospitals in which they occur but also on others, namely payers, patients and society at large,” Dr Marchetti pointed out.
George Clarke, CEO of UMF Corporation, a developer of infection prevention products and programs, said, “The MedERA report helps to reveal the true scope and magnitude of the HAI problem in America, which supports our view that HAIs are at epidemic levels. Clearly, immediate intervention is needed to address this problem as rapidly and completely as possible.”