11/27/10

U.S. CDC report estimates that billions could be saved by preventing hospital superbugs

A 2009 study from the U.S. Centre for Disease Control  (CDC) estimates that the annual medical costs to treat Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs)  at U.S. hospitals ranges from $28.4 billion to $45 billion (the range depends in large part on different inflation estimates).  This is a major increase in costs from a 1992 study of U.S. HAIs.

The report estimates that the benefits of prevention range from a low of $5.7 billion (estimating that only 20 percent of infections are preventable) to a high of $31.5 billion (estimating that 70 percent of infections are preventable).  The costs of preventing HAIs are not included in these savings.

If similar benefits of prevention are realized in Canada based on a population comparison, we could see hospital cost savings between $625 million and $3.45 billion.  In Ontario, the savings would be between $239 million and $1.32 billion (with the mid-point being a $779 million savings). That is significant when you consider the province spends about $15 billion on hospitals.

In Ontario, more thorough cleaning of hospital surfaces often comes only after a superbug outbreak. 

dallan@cupe.ca

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