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How Much Do Hospital-Acquired Infections Cost?

As the name suggests, hospital-acquired infections are infections that patients develop while receiving medical treatment for other conditions. Some of the most common include central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, Clostridium difficile bacterial infections, and surgical site infections.

All together, these infections impact approximately one in twenty patients, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hospital-acquired infections can lead to serious complications and even be fatal. In addition to being difficult to treat, hospital-acquired infections are also expensive. A new study suggests that they cost the U.S. healthcare system $10 billion a year.

As Health Day reports, Harvard University researchers analyzed prior studies on hospital-acquired infections to estimate the costs associated with the most common types. Below are some of the findings:

  • Central line-associated bloodstream infections: approximately $45,000 per case.
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia infections: approximately $40,000 per case.
  • Surgical-site infections: approximately $21,000 per case.
  • C. difficile infections: approximately $11,000 per case.
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections: approximately $900 per case.

As we have previously highlighted on this San Diego Injury Blog, the most concerning aspect of hospital-acquired infections is that they are largely preventable. While some hospitals have made great strides to reduce them, others have not yet implemented the necessary policies and procedures.