Overuse of antibiotics adds $20B/year to the cost of healthcare in the U.S.

Antibiotic-resistant infections like MRSA and VRE are now adding $20 billion a year to the cost of U.S. healthcare, a problem bred by overuse of antibiotics by providers, according to recent research.

This figure comes from a study by a Boston-based group calling itself the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, which worked in cooperation with John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County (Ill.). The two studied 1,391 patients hospitalized in 2000, 13 percent of whom had antibiotic resistant infections.

Researchers concluded that the medical cost of ARIs ranged from $18,588 to $29,069 per patient, and that hospital stays were extended 6.4 to 12.7 days for patients who caught these bugs. All told, researchers estimated the costs at the hospital for such patients to be between $10.7 million and $15 million.

What's more, the study concluded that ARIs generated an excess mortality rate of 6.5 percent, or two times higher than in patients without these infections.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Healthcare Finance News piece

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