In 2008, the CMS stopped providing additional reimbursement for a list of hospital-acquired conditions, including air embolisms, late-stage pressure ulcers, patient falls, central line-associated bloodstream infections and several types of surgical site infections.
Since that policy went into effect, infection preventionists reported a particular focus on curbing rates of catheter-associated urinary tract infections, which appear on the CMS' HAC list. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said their hospitals spent more time on surveillance for such infections, and nearly 70% said there had been an increase in educational programs targeting CAUTIs.
Only 15% of infection preventionists polled for the survey reported an increase in funds for infection control, however.
Hospitals are also spending less time and resources on those types of infections not targeted by the federal government, according to the survey, and some are using unnecessary diagnostic tests to document potential infections at admission. “The CMS policy of eliminating additional payment for certain HAIs appears to have had a positive impact on hospital infection prevention efforts, yet careful consideration of the potential for unintended consequences is warranted,” the authors wrote.