Your cover story on the implications of hospitals being paid twice for medical errors underscores the need for further research to determine the financial impact of cutting reimbursement for nosocomial infections (Profitable complications, Dec. 17).
Although consultant Harold Millers provocative analysis suggests otherwise, most studies have concluded that hospital-acquired infections are costing institutions large sums, as pointed out by Kathy Warye, chief executive officer of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
My own experience as a healthcare facility executive and now as CEO of the Association for Vascular Access, or AVA, confirms these studies. Most hospitals just dont realize how much infections have cost them, even before Medicares decision not to pay for several kinds of preventable infections.
An even greater concern, of course, is the urgent need to better serve patients by protecting them from these infections, many of which can be deadly. Regarding the AVAs area of focus, for example, bloodstream infections are the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S., and 75% of those infections are attributable to vascular access devices. This ongoing toll is just unacceptable.