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Surgical site infections associated with excess costs at hospitals

Date:
May 21, 2014
Source:
The JAMA Network Journals
Summary:
Surgical site infections (SSIs) acquired by patients in hospitals are associated with costs nearly twice as high compared to patients who do not have this complication. The greatest SSI-related costs are among patients undergoing neurosurgery. "Hospital administrators, policymakers, surgeons and hospital epidemiologists can use these data to make a business case for quality improvement efforts focused on SSIs," authors noted.

Surgical site infections (SSIs) acquired by patients in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals are associated with costs nearly twice as high compared to patients who do not have this complication. The greatest SSI-related costs are among patients undergoing neurosurgery.

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SSIs are associated with increased complications and death. Treatment can include long courses of antibiotics, physical therapy, hospital readmissions and reoperations. Costs associated with SSIs after surgery have been under scrutiny since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid stopped paying for increased costs associated with SSIs after some surgical procedures because many of these infections are potentially preventable.

The authors examined total, superficial and deep (more serious infections involving tissue under the skin, organs or implanted devices) SSIs in patients from 129 VA hospitals in 2010.

Among 54,233 patients who underwent surgery, 1,756 (3.2 percent) experienced an SSI. Overall, 0.8 percent of the patients had a deep SSI and 2.4 percent a superficial SSI. The average costs for patients without and with an SSI were $31,580 and $52,620, respectively. The relative costs were 1.43 times greater for patients with an SSI than for patients without. Patients with a deep SSI had associated costs 1.93 times greater and superficial SSIs had costs 1.25 times greater. The proportion of surgical patients with an SSI in the VA study group was consistent with that among the private sector National Surgical Quality Improvement Program cohort, which is used to measure surgical quality in the private sector. In high-volume specialties, the greatest average cost related to SSIs was $23,755 among patients undergoing neurosurgery, followed by patients undergoing orthopedic, general, peripheral vascular and urologic surgeries. The authors estimate the Veterans Health Administration could save millions of dollars annually if hospitals reduced their SSI rates.

"Hospital administrators, policymakers, surgeons and hospital epidemiologists can use these data to make a business case for quality improvement efforts focused on SSIs," authors noted.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The JAMA Network Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marin L. Schweizer, Joseph J. Cullen, Eli N. Perencevich, Mary S. Vaughan Sarrazin. Costs Associated With Surgical Site Infections in Veterans Affairs Hospitals. JAMA Surgery, 2014; DOI: 10.1001/jamasurg.2013.4663

Cite This Page:

The JAMA Network Journals. "Surgical site infections associated with excess costs at hospitals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521180020.htm>.
The JAMA Network Journals. (2014, May 21). Surgical site infections associated with excess costs at hospitals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521180020.htm
The JAMA Network Journals. "Surgical site infections associated with excess costs at hospitals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521180020.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

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