Widespread screening for antibiotic-resistant staph infections, also known as MRSA, could save hospitals hundreds of dollars per patient, according to a new study.
The study by the University of Minnesota, the state Health Department and the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center says hospitals could save as much as $484 per admission if they screened all of their intensive care unit patients for MRSA.
"It may not apply to every hospital in every setting, because every hospital is different," said Dr. Greg Felice, who co-authored the cost analysis. "As hospitals are trying to decide whether they should do screening and what kind of screening they should do, I think these kinds of studies help."
Initially, screening for staph infections would add expense for hospitals. But Felice says they would more than make up for the screening costs in the reduced number of illnesses related to resistant staph infections.
Felice says widespread screening may not be appropriate for all hospitals - especially those with limited staff members to conduct the screening. But he says at a large organization such as the V.A., it appears to be cost-effective.
MRSA infections lead to nearly 20,000 deaths annually in the United States and cost billions of dollars to treat.