Infections Acquired At Massachusetts Hospitals Cost $473M

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Infections contracted during stays at hospitals in Massachusetts costbetween $200 million and $473 million annually, as a result of extendedhospital stays and the costs of medications and surgeries, according toa state report released on Wednesday, the Boston Globereports. The report -- compiled from various sources and mandated as apart of health care reform legislation -- issued 135 recommendations toprevent the spread of bacteria that causes infections (Smith, Boston Globe, 8/9).

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The report recommends that the state require hospitals to publicly report infection rates (Fargen, Boston Herald,8/9). Infection rates should be publicly reported for hip and kneereplacements, and central venous catheters inserted in intensive-carepatients, according to the report. The frequency with which thoseprocedures are conducted allows for more accurate hospital-to-hospitalcomparison, according to Lisa Hirschhorn of JSI Research and Training Institute, which prepared the report for the state, and Alfred DeMaria, director of communicable disease control for Massachusetts.

Thereport also recommends that the state collect data on infectionsstemming from other procedures, which would be sent to the state Department of Public Health but not publicly reported.

Ron Goodspeed, president of Southcoast Hospitals Group,said, "Hospital-acquired infections have been an issue for a long time,but it's time to step up the action and to get as close to eliminatinghospital-acquired infections as possible." He added, "It certainly isunpleasant for the patient and, depending on the infection, may becomea lethal event. And they're very costly to the health care system" (Boston Globe, 8/9).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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