Tuesday, October 30, 2007

MRSA overkill?

It was only a matter of time until hospitals succumbed to the pubic outcry of what the press is now calling "The MRSA Epidemic." Now, don't get me wrong, MRSA is a serious infection and we should not ignore it. Following up this story, communities are well aware that this infection is out there. Here is another local story.

All that being said, I believe that some hospitals are starting to be too aggressive in looking for MRSA. Yesterday, Loyola University Medical Center announced that it will test every patient for MRSA. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Now, this is nothing new. Other hospitals in that area have been doing this for years. And, according to the stats in the article, it has made somewhat of a difference. But, is screening EVERY patient the best way to look for MRSA?
But some experts believe universal screening may be overkill. Dozens of studies have found that screening only high-risk patients, combined with other proven infection-control measures, are sufficient to control MRSA, said University of Virginia emeritus professor Dr. Barry Farr.

Farr noted that hospitals in the Netherlands have achieved extremely low MRSA rates without universal screening. Had those hospitals screened every patient, "it would have wasted large amounts of resources unnecessarily," Farr said.
Everyone is always complaining about the cost of health care - especially in the United States. I'm curious in these hospitals at what the cost is for screening everyone who comes in the door. I believe that this is an expensive program, and someone is going to have to pay for this. "Yeah, but Dr. A, how can you put a price tag if a program like this saves one life?" (Like this story from New York)

I totally understand that point. But, let me put it to you this way. How much more of your pay check are you willing to give up to have this program in place in every US hospital? How much more of a deductible and co-pay are you willing to pay for these health care services? These are just part off the hard questions that need answered as the US figures out how to deliver its health care in the most cost-effective manner.


Anonymous said...

Okay, but how about the money saved in the long run that is spent on HAI's...like MRSA? Hospitals spend billions every year battling these. Seems to me that eventually the up front cost would be less that the cost of treating all these people that aquire it while in the hospital from those that weren't tested, or the medical staff.

Mauigirl said...

Testing everyone is not necessary - doctors and other healthcare workers just need to disinfect their hands between patients and a lot of the danger would diminish. Spreading germs of any kind is bad, we don't need to just pick on MRSA.

Anonymous said...

That's easy for you to say. Just wait until someone from YOUR family dies from this. My mother died from MRSA pneumonia she acquired in Hinsdale Hospital in Hinsdale, Illinois. The place is a cesspool of germs.