ER Visits for UTIs Add $4B in Unnecessary Healthcare Costs Annually

Emergency department visits for urinary tract infections result in almost $4 billion per year in unnecessary healthcare costs, according to a study published in Infection Control Today.

Researchers analyzed data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample and discovered that of the 10.8 million patients seen in EDs for UTIs during the study period (2006-2009), 9 million, or 83.3 percent, were treated and released. The average cost for these ED visits was around $2,000, or 10 times higher than the cost to treat a UTI in an outpatient clinic, making the cost of these 2 to 2.3 million yearly unnecessary ED visits for UTIs to be about $4 billion.

The researchers advocate improved access to primary care as the best way to reduce costs for UTI treatment.

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