Posted on July 9, 2015
Infection prevention and control (IPC) programs can help reduce the number of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in a hospital, enhance patient safety, improve outcomes and save lives, but these programs still need to prove their value in order to receive sufficient funding to operate at a high-performing level. If you face an uphill battle to gain support for your infection prevention program in a tight economic environment, consider framing your case in monetary terms.
Securing appropriate reimbursement for patient care expenses: HAIs are expensive. A central line-associated bloodstream infection, for instance, costs about $46,000 on average and ventilator-associated pneumonia averages more than $40,000 per case.1 The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will not reimburse hospitals for these preventable HAIs and many private insurers have followed suit, meaning that hospitals must absorb the costs associated with these infections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that hospitals could avoid up to 70% of HAIs with high-performing IPC programs.2 One way to estimate how much your hospital could save in direct expenses annually by increasing the resources devoted to an IPC program is to multiply the number of HAIs of each type by their average cost. Alternatively, you could use a conservative estimate of $27,500 per bed.3
Once you have a good sense of how much money an enhanced IPC program can save (or save from cost avoidance) for your hospital, you can put together a strong case to increase support for your IPC program.
How have you increased support for your infection prevention and control program?
Zimlichman E, Henderson D, Tamir O, Franz C, Song P, Yamin CK, Keohane C, Denham CR, Bates DW. Health care-associated infections: a meta-analysis of costs and financial impact on the US health care system. JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Dec 9-23;173(22):2039-46.
Scott RD. The Direct Medical Costs of Healthcare-Associated Infections in U.S. Hospitals and the Benefits of Prevention. CDC. March 2009.
Snydor ERM, Perl TM. Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control in Acute-Care Settings. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2011 January;24(1):141-173.
Fridkin SK, Baggs J, Fagan R, et al. Vital Signs: Improving Antibiotic Use among Hospitalized Patients. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2014;63.
Hospital Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program. CMS.gov.
Hospital Value-based Purchasing. CMS.gov.
Readmissions Reduction Program. CMS.gov.