Surgical Site Infection Rehospitalizations Cost $65 Million Every Year

surgical%20lights.jpgSurgical site infections that develop after a person has undergone a hip or knee replacement, and which are severe enough to require readmission back into the hospital, cost the US health care system approximately $65 million every year. That information comes from an analysis of data that was presented recently at a meeting of the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

The researchers analyzed health insurance claims belonging to approximately 40 million insured adults. They were looking at employer-provided health plans, and the re-hospitalization rates for persons who had undergone hip and knee replacements. There were specifically looking at the cost of hip and knee replacement surgeries, beyond the actual cost of the initial hospitalization.

Hip and knee replacement surgeries were included in this study because these are typically complicated and long drawn-out procedures. Treatment for an infected joint may be complex, and may stretch out over a long period of time. Additionally, these persons may be on a extensive course of antibiotics, and may also be at a risk of additional surgeries.

A total of 174,425 individuals underwent hip or knee replacement in 2007. Out of these, 2134, or 1.2% had to be taken back to the hospital within a year after being discharged, with a surgical site infection. Out of the more than 2,000 people who had to be hospitalized due to the surgical site infection after a hip or knee replacement, approximately 12.5% had to be hospitalized again about a year after the prior hospitalization. Again, the hospitalization was linked to surgical site infection-related issues. There were also 870 patients who had to be hospitalized for other reasons during the 12 months after the diagnosis.

These hospitalizations for surgical site infections were also linked to a prolonged hospital stay. Patients, who had to be re-hospitalized after a surgical site infection spent an average of 8.6 days in the hospital, and ran up hospital tabs of approximately 26,812 on an average. These all-cause hospitalizations after a hip or knee replacement led to an average hospital stay of 6.2 days, and cost an average of $31,046.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately one out of every 3 persons who undergo surgery in a hospital, will develop an infection. What this study does seem to confirm is the need to prevent infections among patients who have undergone a surgery in order to reduce hospital readmission rates and contain costs. The national Partnership for Patients has set a goal to reduce the number of hospital infections by as much as 20% by the end of 2013.

The Indiana medical malpractice attorneys at Montross Muller Muller Mendelson Kennedy are dedicated to the representation of persons who have been injured due to the negligence of medical professionals across Indiana.