Infection Control: A Crucial Investment

Hospital acquired infection (HAI) is associated with more than 99,000 American deaths annually. The estimated 1.7 million HAIs also generate more than $20 billion of additional healthcare spending.

Several years ago, when MRSA and C. difficile infected patients and grabbed headlines, healthcare facilties initiated intensive infection-reduction programs. Many demonstrated solid success. Now HAI efforts are being cut back as a result of the economic downturn.
In a recent survey by the Association for Professional in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), 41 percent of infection-prevention professionals reported that their budgets had been cut during the past 18 months. Approximately 30 percent said that reductions in staff and resources compromised their infection surveillance and prevention capabilities.
Chopping infection-control budgets to contain costs will eventually have the opposite effect on HAIs and patient safety, resulting in backsliding toward more needless suffering and death.
That extra ounce of prevention is worth many pounds of cures. Let's not wait for a new round of headlines. Investing in infection control is sound practice and good business.
—Tom DeSanto
MRSA image: WebMD

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