Why The Cost Of HAIs Are Eroding Your Profits, And What To Do About It
Healthcare acquired infections (HAIs) exact a major financial toll on hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities. In addition to costing tens of thousands of dollars per patient, the federal government is now penalizing facilities that don't have comprehensive preventative measures in place to curb the spread of HAIs. You may be worried that you can't afford to implement effective new technologies for fighting healthcare-acquired infections, but the reality is that you can't afford not to.
Healthcare-Acquired Infections and Penalty Payments
Approximately 2 million HAI cases are reported in the United States each year, and each case has an average cost of just over $15,000. Thus, HAIs currently cost the healthcare system over $30 billion a year; with HAI rates rising, so too are these costs.
In early 2013, the U.S. federal government introduced a program that implemented new reporting procedures and applied penalties to institutions with high infection rates. Under these new policies, healthcare facilities face stiff penalties in three key areas:
- Infection reporting to the National Healthcare Safety Network
- Value-based purchasing
- HAI-related hospital readmissions
These penalties are calculated as a percentage of inpatient PPS reimbursement. Facilities with infection rates exceeding the acceptable threshold face a penalty of 2 percent of eligible Medicare reimbursements, while value-based purchasing and HAI-related readmissions are both penalized at rates of 1 percent. For a 250-bed hospital with annual Medicare reimbursements of $50 million, those penalties could add up to over $2 million. Factor in the cost of treating HAIs, and you're looking at costs and penalties totaling nearly $5 million!
This is only the beginning. These penalties will increase in severity as time goes on. For example, value-based purchasing penalties will increase to 1.5 percent by 2015, and HAI-related readmission penalties will rise to 3 percent. By 2015, healthcare facilities will also face an additional penalty for the bottom quartile of HAIs, which is slotted at 1.5 percent. Thus, HAIs that would have come in at about $5 million in costs and penalties in 2013 will cost $6.5 million by 2015. Now is the time to take action against the spread of HAIs.
Take Action Against Healthcare-Acquired Infections
Fortunately for facility administrators, directors of nursing and infection control specialists, there are a host of new technologies in infection control. These new infection control technologies will keep infection rates low, improve the life of your patients and staff as well as to protect your facility from the penalties that are only getting worse.
Some of these new infection control technologies include:
Hand hygeine tracking systems
Dry ozone vapor systems
These new infection control technologies will continue to play a growing role in healthcare facilities across the country and the world. As penalties for infections increase and the ever aging "babyboomer" population enters into our healthcare system, it's imperative to find cost effective solutions to help reduce healthcare acquired infections.
Has your facility started using any new technology to prevent infections? Comment below.
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