Decreased MRSA And HAIs Associated With Veteran Affairs Program

Healthcare Purchasing News

The Department of Veterans Affairs' Veterans Health Administration's campaign to limit healthcare facility-associated infections (HAIs) of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) continues to make significant progress, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

The study, by Martin E. Evans, MD and colleagues from the Veterans Health Administration, found that between October 2007 and September 2015, monthly HAI rates dropped 87 percent in intensive care units (ICUs), 80.1 percent in non-ICUs and 80.9 percent in spinal cord injury units (SCIUs).

In long-term care facilities (LTCFs), rates fell 49.4 percent during the period of July 2009 to September 2015. During September 2015, only two MRSA HAIs were reported in ICUs, 20 in non-ICUs (with three in SCIUs) and 31 in LTCFs nationwide.

The current study updates and supports these continuing trends in MRSA transmission and HAIs through September 2015, thus comprising an eight-year study period.

The VA program included having a dedicated MRSA prevention coordinator at each facility to oversee a bundle of interventions which included: universal active surveillance (screening) on admission, unit-to-unit transfer, and discharge; contact precautions for those colonized or infected with MRSA; adherence to hand hygiene; and institutional culture change, where infection prevention became everyone's business.

The authors speculated that the focused attention on MRSA infections helped motivate healthcare workers to practice better infection prevention and control measures.

Financial Penalties Reduce Hospital Readmissions

Financial penalties work in reducing hospital readmission rates, according to a new study by the Yale University School of Medicine. The Hospital Readmission Reduction Program, or HRRP, was enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in October 2012 to reduce hospital readmission rates. Since then, thousands of hospitals have been given nearly $1 billion in penalties for not reducing readmissions.

Researchers examined three target health conditions -- heart attack, congestive heart failure and pneumonia -- to determine if the penalties worked at reducing readmissions from 2008 to 2015.

Reducing hospital readmissions is a priority across the United States, and the penalty system appears to work at incentivizing hospitals to reduce readmissions.


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