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Screening Patients for MRSA Is Cost-Effective

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus screening reduces overall cost of patient care

MONDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Interventions that prevent the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are likely to be cost-effective, according to a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

John A. Nyman, Ph.D., from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues examined the costs per hospital admission involved in screening for MRSA in patients in the intensive care units, and in isolating those colonized for the infection. They analyzed the costs of caring for 241 MRSA-infected patients in the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center from 2004 to 2006. A microcosting approach determined the intervention costs for three different laboratory protocols. A simulation model was used to assess the effects of screening on reducing MRSA transmission to other patients and the cost savings.

The investigators found that, for all three screening tests, the screening of intensive care unit patients was cost-saving compared to no intervention. Screening costs for the three tests were between $22.22 and $30.20 per admission. The authors suggested that the intervention would need to reduce MRSA infections by 6 percent to cover the screening costs. Each screened admission helped avoid 0.0159 to 0.0480 MRSA infections, resulting in a savings between $483 and $476 per admission.

"Because of the high cost of caring for an MRSA patient, interventions that reduce the spread of infections -- such as screening intensive care unit patients upon admission studied here -- are likely to pay for themselves," the authors write.

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