10 things for CFOs to know about MRSA

Healthcare workers and infection preventionists are not the only ones who should focus efforts on reducing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections; hospital CFOs should also be concerned with preventing this costly condition.

Here are 10 things CFOs should know about MRSA.

1. MRSA is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. In medical facilities, MRSA can cause severe problems, such as life-threatening bloodstream infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections.1

2. MRSA is usually spread by direct contact with an infected wound or from contaminated hands, especially those of healthcare workers. People who carry MRSA but do not show symptoms can also spread the bacteria to others and potentially cause an infection.1

3. Considerable evidence shows that when healthcare providers follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, MRSA infections can largely — if not completely — be prevented.1

4. Per infection, hospital-acquired infections are a great deal more expensive if MRSA is involved due to the costs associated with length of stay, antibiotics, supportive care, aftercare and rehabilitation. For instance, MRSA nearly doubles the cost of a surgical site infection from $20,800 to $42,000 and increases the cost of a central line-associated bloodstream infection from $45,800 to $58,500.2

5. MRSA also increases the length of stay by 15.7 days for CLABSI patients and 23 days for SSI patients, adding to the cost of the infection to hospitals.2

6. On average, the chance being readmitted within a year of a hospital stay for patients with a MRSA-positive culture is 40 percent higher than patients with a MRSA-negative culture. The average readmission time from hospital discharge is 27 days for a culture-positive patient.2

7. In 2015, CMS added MRSA to its list of HAIs for which it would no longer reimburse, meaning the excess costs of this infection will no longer be covered by Medicare and Medicaid services.2

8. The mortality rate for patients with MRSA infections is roughly double the mortality rate for those with methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus infections, increasing hospital costs. Unlike MRSA, MSSA can be killed by methicillin.2

9. When evaluating the cost-benefit ratio of screening for MRSA and its impact on the utilization of healthcare resources, there are two meaningful measures providers should consider: the cost of the MRSA tests and the specificity of the test's results.

10. Between 2011 and 2013, hospitals nationwide decreased MRSA bloodstream infections by 8 percent.


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April 3, 2014. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Infections. General Information About MRSA in Healthcare Settings. http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/healthcare/index.html

2 Becker's Hospital Review. Patient Shield Concepts. May 12, 2015. The True Cost of HAIs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QyKhmeFeL8



More articles on MRSA:
Research reveals mass MRSA screening is not cost-effective
The most MRSA-contaminated surfaces in a hospital room: Infographic
How HAIs lead to direct, indirect and unintended hospital costs

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