INTRODUCTION A. Sophomore year of high school, I was lifting weights on a Sunday afternoon at a local gym. I was finishing my last set of shoulder press, when I felt a sharp pain in my back. I left the gym that day and felt tired, but thought nothing of it. B. Growing increasingly weak, I went to the doctor a few days later and found out I had punctured my lung. I would require immediate surgery in order to save my right lung. I began to feel scared. I had never had surgery before. And I knew infections were common.
I also knew that my surgery would be very expensive. C. I was right to be afraid. Nosocomial infections, AKA hospital acquired infections, are common during both surgeries, and normal everyday doctor visits. Currently, there are no uniform infection prevention programs for every hospital in America. Today I would like to talk to you all about the key economic issues facing hospital acquired infections, As well as the things you all should look for in order to better protect yourself. II. ECONOMICS
A. Some health care experts oppose an increase in sanitation methods within a hospital environment, because of the believed high initial program startup costs. Rebecca R. Roberts, who is affiliated with the Department of Emergency Medicine and Infectious Disease at Cook Country Hospital, at Rush University in Chicago, is the author who wrote “The Use of Economic Modeling to Determine the Hospital Costs Associated with Nosocomial Infections” that was published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
She believes that preventing infections can be a too difficult to prepare for proactively, and that they require substantial financial changes throughout the hospital. She notes that a new uniform screening program to detect an infection prior to the disease presenting itself within the patient, would increase spending hundreds of dollars per patient. Only five-percent of admitted patients are verified to have contracted an infection within the hospital environment. B.
According to Marc-Oliver Wright and Eli Perencevich, authors of “Cost Effectiveness of Infection Control Program”, published in the book Molecular Techniques for the Study of Hospital Acquired Infection, new health programs, such as infection prevention, often seem promising to reduce medical costs, but end up disappointing financially. Wright and Perencevich, who are affiliated with the University of Iowa Medical Center, note that an infection prevention program would become a “cost center” or “bottomless money pit,” because more money would be invested than saved.
They back their claims by providing an example study of twenty-eight American hospitals in which the average attributable cost of hospital acquired infections, also known as nosocomial infections, is more than four and a half times the allotted budget of their infection prevention programs. As you can see, some health care specialists are against infection reduction methods spending due to the increase financial investments required. However, not all health care professionals believe that hospital acquired infection prevention is a poor investment. C.
Betsy McCaughey, author of the book entitled Unnecessary Deaths: The Human and Financial Costs of Hospital-Acquired Infections, states that hospital infections are more than thirty billion dollars annually of the nation’s hospital bills, a large percent of which could be prevented with early screening. She observes that seventy percent of Staph infections could be prevented with a simple staph-test kit, an inexpensive and easily administered test. Finally, McCaughey, who is Founder and Chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, elaborates that only a nasal swab is needed to test, and the kit costs twenty dollars. D.
Mahmud Hassan, author of the article “Cost of Hospital-Acquired Infection” published in Hospital Topics, estimate that a nosocomial infections increase hospital stays by just over ten-thousand dollars, a large portion of which must be covered by Medicare. Hassan, who is a professor of finance and economics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, reports that nearly seventeen billion dollars are spent annually by Medicare to cover the costs insurance and patients do not pay for. Apart from just an increase in costs of treating the infection, you must also consider the cost of materials wasted by hospitals due to infections.
E. Nicholas Graves, author of the article “Economics and Preventing Hospital-Acquired Infection” published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, the average stay at a hospital is drastically increased when symptoms of an infection present. He explains that the typical extension is about three and a half days, and due to the lengthened stay, valuable hospitals resources are wasted. The nursing staff is required to spend time with more patients, and use additional beds, medicine, electricity, bandages etc.
As you all can see, there are some pretty different views on whether infections should be treated proactively or not. Why is this important to you? I believe that knowledge is power, and as you will see, educating yourself on this topic could be very beneficial to you someday. III. PSYCHOLOGY A. Julia Hallisy, who is a doctor with the University of California at San Francisco, and author of the article “Preventing Hospital-Acquired Infections: Patients Must Be Safety Partners” published in Health Policy, states that a noteworthy issue concerning high infection rates is the public media.
She insists the general public does not receive timely and accurate information about certain bacterial infections. She observes that the average person underestimates the danger of staph infections, and will label an antibiotic-resistant infection with a silly meaningless name – Such as the “super bug”. B. Betsy McCaughey, from that Committee to reduce infectious diseases, states that a large reason as to why few hospitals are adopting rigorous infection control is the fault of the public. Unlike other countries, Americans have not expressed outrage for an increase in sanitation standards.
Great Britain, for example, has had hospital infections all over the news in recent years, and British officials are now taking measures to ensure low infection rates. Hospital directors can be fired for an outbreak of infections within their hospital, especially difficult to control bacteria. Until America feels the same, we will continue to have high infection rates in comparison to the rest of the world. I’m sure by now you are wondering what to look for, and what to ask doctors the next time you are in a hospital. IV. OVERALL HUMAN HEALTH
A. If you are ever in a situation that you require surgery like I did, please remember the following tips provided by Betsy McCaughey that will greatly increase your chance of successful surgery. * the number of surgeons in the operating room should be limited * Assistant surgeon should make an effort to keep the patient warm during surgery. * Trim hair near a surgical sight, rather than shave. She explains that razors make small nicks on the skin’s surface, allowing easier access for bacteria, as well as harmful air pollutants. Quit smoking at least one week prior to surgery. This will not only limit your recovery time, but increase your chances of infection prevention. * Maintain blood glucose levels around 80-110mg/unit of blood. Eat a solid meal high in carbs prior to surgery. I hope that I have properly explained to you all the various economic policies associated with infections in hospitals, and remember the tips provided when entering a surgery. Remember that if your health stays high, you will live a longer, more fulfilling life. Thank you.