Hospitals may save money by screening for MRSA

Feb 22, 2011

Checking patients for MRSA before they are admitted may help reduce the incidence of the infection and save hospitals money.

The expense of testing incoming patients for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus and isolating those who test positive may be less than that of treating patients with the deadly infection, according to an upcoming article in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Researchers implemented a pilot MRSA testing program at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center to determine the approximate costs of creating a program to monitor the illness. They say the screening program resulted in $500 of savings per hospital admission due to the reduction in infection and spread of MRSA cases.

Though lead researcher Dr. John Nyman is thrilled about the findings, he acknowledges that the program may not work the same everywhere and encourages hospitals to "consider how this type of program fits into their overall institutional, infection-prevention programs and realize that this intervention is only one of many alternative interventions that are designed to prevent healthcare-associated infections."

MRSA is a highly contagious infection that is mostly transmitted in hospitals and caused more deaths in the U.S. than AIDS in 2005, according to WebMD. Infections like MRSA can develop unexpectedly and quickly cause death, which is why precautions like life insurance should always be arranged while healthy. 

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