MRSA screenings could cut hospital costs

Hospitals could save up to $500 per admission just by screening patients in the intensive care unit for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to a study published in February edition of the American Journal of Infection Control

At present, yearly costs for treating MRSA in hospitalized patients run between $3.2 billion and $4.2 billion, according to an accompanying news release published by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Using conservative assumptions, researchers  concluded that the screenings were cost-neutral when MRSA was found early enough. 

"Because of the high cost of caring for a MRSA patient, interventions that reduce the spread of infections...are likely to pay for themselves," write the study's authors. 

Despite the discovered savings, the researchers, led by John A. Nyman, PhD, a health economist at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, were extremely cautious in declaring such savings universal, pointing out that the study only took into account data on 241 MRSA-infected patients from one hospital (the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center) over a two-year period, from 2004 to 2006.

"This study focuses on the cost of this one intervention compared to without the intervention and does not further examine the cost-effectiveness of this program relative to other infection-prevention programs," the authors write. "Consideration of other programs is important because MRSA represents only one of many pathogens causing infections in hospitals...We owe it to the patients to continue to assess and improve our preventive strategies."

To learn more:
- here's the APIC press release
- check out this EmaxHealth piece

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