Every year, 80,000 hospital patients develop catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSIs). Of those affected, nearly 40 percent – or 30,000 – die as a result. Catheters are often used to monitor the flow of blood in a patient or distribute much-needed medication and nutrients.
CRBSIs account for close to a third of all hospital-acquired infection deaths in the United States, according to The Washington Post. They also cost millions of dollars in healthcare spending.
Some of the most common causes for these infections are catheters that are improperly prepared by hospital staff or those that are left inside patients too long. The Post also reports five, seemingly common sense, steps that hospital staff could take to “all but eliminate” these infections.
Amazingly, many of these steps seem to be ignored.
That’s why 21 states have adopted regulations for hospital-acquired infection reporting in the past five years, bringing the total to 27. As the statistics roll in, it becomes clearer and clearer that these infections are not just killing patients, but costing the United States millions of dollars.
In 2005, only six states required such reporting from hospitals and nursing homes. That means that reporting and prevention measures, to a large degree, were handled by the hospitals or homes themselves.
Obviously, the system wasn’t working.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine estimate that setting up an infection-control program costs about $3,000 per prevented infection. The cost if an infection develops usually falls in the neighborhood of $33,000.