The High Cost of Hospital Infections

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Although Ebola has grabbed the headlines lately, hospitals in the United States have long struggled to reduce other types of infections that often prove fatal.

A recent analysis by Kaiser Health News underscores the problem: “Nationally about one in every 25 hospitalized patients gets an infection, and 75,000 people die each year from them — more than from car crashes and gun shots combined.”

Kaiser found that hundreds of hospitals around the country have higher-than-expected rates for at least one of six types of infections tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In addition to the tragic loss of life, hospital infections boost medical costs for families, businesses and governments at all levels. High medical costs harm the economy and are a key factor in the rapid growth of the federal debt.

Research shows that even rudimentary steps — such as ensuring that hospital staff members wash their hands and better protect patients when tubes are inserted — could help.

External links:
Hospitals’ Struggles To Beat Back Infections Began Before Ebola Arrived (Kaiser Health News)

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