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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: August 17, 2010
Hospital Infections Wreak Havoc With Patients, Hospital Finances

Hospital leaders knew that approximately 1.7 million hospitalized patients contract a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) annually in the United States. What they didn’t know were the costs and impact of these infections on their operations.

Four researchers poured through a national database of hospital discharge records from 1998-2006 attempting to identify sepsis and pneumonia infections and examine the hospital lengths of stay, hospital costs and mortality associated with those infections. The American Medical Association published the study now available in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Over that eight-year period, the four researchers identified 557,967 cases of sepsis and pneumonia in hospitalized patients, out of a total of 59 million hospitalized patients in 40 states.

The findings included:

    Patients who had invasive surgery and contracted sepsis while in the hospital spent 10.9 more days in the hospital, cost $32,900 more and had an attributable crude mortality rate of 19.5 percent, compared to similar control patients.

    Patients who contracted pneumonia were hospitalized an additional 14 days, cost $46,400 more and had a mortality rate of 11.4 percent.

    HAI-attributable lengths of stay and hospital costs for patients who did not have invasive surgery were 40 percent lower than for those who did have such surgery.

    The findings could be underestimated, according the authors, as their data was limited by its reliance on administrative records that contain limited clinical information.

    By extrapolating the data they had the authors estimated the costs of sepsis and pneumonia HAIs in 2006 alone to be 48,000 deaths, $8.1 billion in additional hospital costs and 2.3 million more hospital days.

Address: American Medical Association, 515 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60654; (800) 621-8335, www.ama-assn.org.


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