In 2011, the CDC estimated 722,000 patients contracted an infection during a stay in an acute care hospital in the U.S. More than half of all HAIs occurred outside of an intensive care unit.
Under the ACA, hospitals are penalized for having high infection rates. Recently, 30 hospitals in Florida were fined in excess of $300 million.
ACA citations for high infection rates cut critical reimbursement revenue.
HAIs cost hospitals more than $30.5 billion annually. Years ago, health insurers and Medicare paid the bulk of the cost, but now cost is being shifted to hospitals and facilities in the form of changes in reimbursement policies. Hospitals are now being scored based on items including patient satisfaction (HCAHPS) and the infection rate. These scores directly impact reimbursement to the tune of millions of dollars per facility.
The CDC states that hospitals are to provide education on infection control to all construction workers and staff.²
Healthcare facilities report infections directly to CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).
The standardized infection ratio (SIR) is a statistic used to track healthcare-associated infection prevention progress over time. The SIR for a facility or state is adjusted to account for factors that might cause infection rates to be higher or lower, such as hospital size, teaching status, low-income patients a hospital serves and surgery and patient characteristics.
Types of HAIs include:
Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSIs): A central line is a tube that a doctor usually places in a large vein of a patient’s neck or chest to give important medical treatment. When not put in correctly or kept clean, central lines can become a freeway for germs to enter the body and cause deadly infections in the blood.
Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTIs): When a urinary catheter is not inserted correctly, not kept clean or left in a patient for too long, germs can travel through the catheter and cause a catheter-associated urinary tract infection in the urinary system, which includes the bladder and kidneys.
Surgical Site Infections (SSIs) – Colon Surgery and Abdominal Hysterectomy Surgery: When germs get into an area where surgery is or was performed, patients can get a surgical site infection. Sometimes these infections involve the skin only. Other SSIs can involve tissues under the skin, organs or implanted material.
Infectious diseases kill more people worldwide than any other single cause.⁶
Infectious diseases are caused by germs. Germs are spread through touching, eating, drinking or breathing. Germs can also spread through animal and insect bites, kissing and sexual contact.⁶
There are four main kinds of germs:
Bacteria – one-celled germs that multiply quickly and may release chemicals that can cause illness
Viruses – capsules that contain genetic material and use a body’s cells to multiply
Fungi – primitive plants, such as mushrooms or mildew
Protozoa – one-celled animals that use other living things for food and a place to live
The following are the latest statistics available:⁷
Hepatitis A: The CDC estimates that 2,700 new cases of Hepatitis A occurred in the U.S. in 2011.
Hepatitis B: In the U.S., it is estimated that 700,000 to 1.4 million people have chronic hepatitis B infections. It is estimated that in 2011, 19,000 new cases occurred in the U.S.
Hepatitis C: In the U.S., it is estimated that between 2.5 million and 3.9 million people have chronic hepatitis C infections. It is estimated that in 2011, about 17,000 new cases occurred in the U.S.
Tuberculosis: TB has infected one-third of the world’s population. In 2012, nearly 10,000 new cases were reported in the U.S.
Influenza/Pneumonia: About 36,000 people per year in the U.S. die from influenza and pneumonia.
HIV: Roughly 50,000 new cases of HIV infections occur annually in the U.S., and nearly 33 million people are infected with HIV in the world.⁸
Chickenpox Vaccine: The chickenpox vaccine has decreased the frequency of new cases of chickenpox in all age groups, especially in children ages 1 to 4 years.
Measles Vaccine: Even though the measles vaccine is now available, in 2013 there were nearly 200 new cases of measles (rubeola) in the U.S. Measles outbreaks in 2014 increased the rate of new cases.
STDs: The number of new cases of sexually transmitted diseases reported in the U.S. in 2007 include:
Syphilis (primary and secondary): more than 11,000
Whooping Cough: Whooping Cough affects 5,000 to 7,000 people in the U.S. annually. In 2007, about 17,000 new cases were reported to the CDC, including 14 deaths nationally. Initial 2010 data shows more than 21,000 cases and 26 deaths – 22 of them in children less than 1 year of age.