A Rise in Healthcare Associated Infections: An Economics Research

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Amidst the futile clamor and commotion of national healthcare reform legislation debated on the national political stage, everyone in the medical industry from patients to doctors alike are searching for ways to effectively and efficiently trim the cost of delivering quality healthcare. While the inexcusable waste and graft of the insurance industry, runaway medical malpractice litigation and the importance of lifelong preventative care are all issues that have been thrust to the forefront of the political discourse, a tremendous leak in the system has escaped notice and continues to drain resources from both hospitals and those they treat. The threat of additional infections afflicting a patient who requires treatment for an original condition is prevalent throughout American hospitals, and according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services "Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs)" or "infections that patients acquire while receiving treatment for medical or surgical conditions "¦ occur in all settings of care, including hospital acute care units and same day surgical centers, ambulatory outpatient care clinics, and long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and rehabilitation centers" (HHS Action Plan, 2011). Whether one attempts to gauge the overall price of healthcare-associated infections in terms of the financial expenditure, the human suffering or the diversion of valuable resources they impose on the healthcare system, it is quite clear that these

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