Hospitals often inadequately fund infection control, according to a recent survey by the Irving, Texas-based VHA healthcare cooperative.
About one-third of hospitals surveyed had less than the recommended ratio of infection- control staff to patient beds, and the two largest impediments to better performance in infection control were insufficient resources and a lack of physician support, the VHA said in a summary of the study, released last week.
"Devoting more staff to infection-control activities in hospitals will reduce infections and have a significant clinical and financial benefit," said John Hitt, M.D., the VHA's vice president of clinical improvement.
The VHA said experts estimate hospital-acquired infections add $7 billion to the U.S.' healthcare bill. Hitt said a patient's hospital-acquired infection costs several thousand dollars to more than $50,000 per incident.