Money matters: The financial incentives of disinfection

Money matters: The financial incentives of disinfection

Hospitals and healthcare facilities across the world are continuously searching for better ways to limit the spread of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). The reasons for this are self-evident: patients should not be subjected to additional ailments from a place dedicated to making them healthier. But the incentives for hospitals to disinfect their facilities go beyond insulating patients from HAIs – there are monetary benefits, as well.

Patients that have to spend extra time in a hospital due to a contracted HAI are there for an average of eight days and can cost as much as $25,903, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over the course of a year, the total cost to treat these patients is between $35.7 billion and $45 billion – all because a hospital did not adequately protect its patients from infection.

Additionally, there are penalties for healthcare facilities that fail to meet certain standards in HAI rates. Fortunately, there are cost-effective ways for these organizations to reduce their HAI levels – both avoiding costly deductions and improving overall care.

“The total cost to treat HAI patients is between $35.7 billion and $45 billion.”

High HAI rates will lead to big financial loss for hospitals
Hospitals that score in the bottom 25 percent for preventable harm will lose 1 percent of their incoming Medicare payments as per the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, according to Modern Healthcare. In 2015, 724 facilities scored in that range – accounting for roughly $330 million in deductions. Not only that, but in 2015 Medicare is expected to penalize a record 2,610 hospitals for allowing too many readmissions due to HAIs in a 30-day window.

The goal of this program is to refocus government spending on healthcare – rather than rewarding volume of service, the HAC Reduction Program creates an incentive for quality of care and risk management.

Scientific literature reports that manual disinfection is leaving 30%-60% of organisms behind and that opens the door to use mechanical disinfection technology, some mechanical disinfection systems can be expensive and only marginally successful. Many of the current methods on the market take a long time to be effective, leave potentially hazardous byproducts, are difficult to store and transport and may be incompatible with delicate hospital instruments. In short, they are ineffective to suit many hospitals’ needs.

Hospitals can end up spending hundreds of thousands on HAI care.Hospitals can end up spending hundreds of thousands on HAI care.

TOMI Environmental Solutions, Inc. provides a better option
Traditional hospital cleaning methods have proven inadequate to rid rooms of common diseases. In one study, 78 percent of commonly touched areas in patient rooms remained contaminated with C. difficile after routine cleanings. In a separate study, 25 percent of operating room surfaces in 49 New England hospitals were overlooked by cleaning crews.

These studies show how hospitals fall short in their disinfection efforts for a number of reasons. SteraMist™ BIT™ from TOMI Environmental Solutions, Inc. – an EPA registered fogging disinfection system and handheld spray, is simple to use and can drastically improve a room’s cleanliness in minutes. This technology is safe, fast and won’t negatively impact sensitive equipment.

The potential fiscal implications for this technology are significant. Using SteraMist™ BIT™ in a hospital with six operating rooms instead of a two-person cleaning crew could result in annual savings of nearly $52,000. That doesn’t include the additional benefit of avoiding those penalties from the HAC Reduction Program by limiting the occurrence of HAIs.

While the no. 1 advantage of lowering a hospital’s HAI rate is in providing better care for patients, the financial impact cannot be ignored. After all, the hospitals that limit unnecessary expenditures will have more leftover capital to invest in themselves and provide higher-quality service. By using modern disinfection systems like TOMI’s SteraMist™ BIT™, these facilities can gain more control over HAIs and improve their overall performance.