$34 billion: How to control the cost of MRSA in healthcare?

Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) costs the US healthcare system up to $34 billion a year and accounts for over 8 million additional hospital days.  MRSA alone kills more people in the US every year than homicide, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, and emphysema combined.

Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published numerous general and treatment-specific guidelines on prevention and control measures to reduce the introduction and spread of MRSA in a healthcare setting.

A recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine and summarized in the Clinical Advisor, reported that following an infection control bundle strategy produced a 60% and 45% decline in MRSA rates for the ICU and non-ICU, respectively.  Key strategies of the bundle included:

  • Universal nasal surveillance for MRSA
  • Contact precautions for patients colonized or infected with the bacteria
  • Hand hygiene
  • Institutional policy change emphasizing personal responsibility for infection control among all employees in contact with hospital patients.

In addition to these important key strategies, infection control programs need be specific to your needs, patient population, and available resources.  The true success of an infection control program can be measured by how you compare to yourself and your peers.