Hospital Infections Add $1.4B to Pennsylvania Medicare, Medicaid Bills
Medicare and Medicaid were billed for about 76% of the 11,668 cases of hospital-acquired infections in Pennsylvania hospitals in 2004, with charges totaling nearly $1.4 billion for the government programs, according to a study released on Thursday by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (Fahy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/17).
PHC4 in July released a study finding that hospital-acquired infections last year accounted for 1,793 deaths and $2 billion in charges in Pennsylvania. PHC4 used billing data and reports from hospitals in the state to determine the rate of infections (American Health Line, 7/13).
According to the new report, hospitals billed Medicare an additional $1 billion to treat hospital-acquired infections in 7,870 patients, while Medicaid was billed an additional $371.6 million for infections in 1,028 patients. Commercial insurers were billed an additional $603.8 million for such cases.
However, the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that hospitals "collect significantly less from Medicare, Medicaid and insurers than the amount billed for care." Nevertheless, the PHC4 report "suggests hospital-acquired infections add billions of dollars each year to the nation's actual cost of health care," the Inquirer reports.
PHC4 Executive Director Marc Volavka said, "The financial toll of potentially preventable hospital-acquired infections is staggering."
Carolyn Scanlan, president and CEO of the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, said, "Hospitals recognize the importance of this challenging topic and have significant efforts under way throughout Pennsylvania focused on identification, reduction and prevention of infections" (Goldstein, Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/17).