MRSA screening can reduce costs for hospitals

New research suggests screening patients in intensive care units for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus can produce cost savings for an entire hospital.

The study, which uses a statistical simulation model, is published in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, according to

The study’s goal was to determine the costs per hospital admission of screening ICU patients for MRSA and isolating those that then tested positive. The study was conducted by researchers at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, a hospital with 279 beds and an outpatient facility.

The research found that, even under the most conservative assumptions, the screening would be cost neutral if early detection of MSRA reduced the chances it could spread to other patients in the hospital, reports. Under optimal assumptions, the study showed that almost $500 could be saved per hospital admission.

"This study presents evidence of the cost savings from implementing a program that targets the ICU population but that has an effect that is hospital-wide," Dr. Nyman, the lead researcher, said, according to "Although we find that this program pays for itself through the MRSA infections prevented, it is important that hospitals also consider how this type of program fits into their overall institutional, infection-prevention programs and realize that this intervention is only one of many alternative interventions that are designed to prevent healthcare-associated infections."