There are unique patient safety challenges in the prevention and control of health care-associated infections (HAI). It is estimated that approximately 2 million HAI occur every year in the United States, and each infection increases the risk of death by as much as 6 times. This amounts to an estimated 90,000 deaths an- nually and $4.5 billion excess health care costs.The emergence of specific multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO), the growing number of immunocompromised patients, and the increasing number of invasive proce- dures and medical device implantations are posing new challenges for infection control. How many of these HAI are preventable remains unclear, but payers such as the Centers for Medicare Medicare & Medicaid Services have already enacted rules that preclude reim- bursement for certain conditions that are attributed to hospitalization, eg, catheter-associated urinary tract in- fections.
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