Hospitals Risk Losing Medicare Payments if Infections Aren’t Reduced
With lives at risk, health care facilities need to step up prevention via effective air filtration and other measures
Hospital HVAC News — Starting in October, hundreds of hospitals may see their Medicare payments decrease as a penalty for high rates of patient infections. The fee reductions — in which health care facilities will lose 1 percent of their Medicare reimbursements for a full year -- are mandated by a new government initiative, the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, part of the Affordable Care Act.
The idea is to spur hospitals to do a better job preventing harmful and potentially deadly infections. Each year, one hospital patient in ten — some 2 million patients -- suffers a hospital-acquired infection. Compounding the concern: some of these infections, like Staphylococcus aureus, are proving resistant to antibiotic treatments.
But the problem is also largely avoidable problem. Indeed, fully one third of infections are estimated to be preventable. Additionally, the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths (RID) has reported that as many as 92 percent of deaths from hospital infections could have been prevented.
The good news is that preventive measures can be surprisingly simple to implement, cost effective, and most importantly, successful. Already, a new generation of efficient air filters has proven remarkably effective in removing dangerous particles from indoor air — even the extremely small particles that can vex more traditionally designed filters. Staphylococcus aureus, for example, has a diameter of just 0.8 micron to 1.0 micron, but air filters with an efficiency rating of MERV 14 will remove more than 90 percent of this contaminant. That reduces the chance of infection -- and potential risks to a patient’s health.
These newer, better air filters can be easily incorporated into existing air handling systems. And because they designed to last longer than traditional filters, they use less energy and require less frequent replacement. So hospitals see savings along with better performance. In use, air filters from Camfil — the world’s leading provider of clean air solutions -- have enabled hospitals and other users to reduce their HVAC energy costs by 20 percent or more, their installation costs by 50 percent, and their disposal costs by 70 percent -- all while improving indoor air quality (IAQ).
A preliminary analysis released by the government in April identified more than 750 hospitals that stood to be assessed penalties later this year. Overall, the sanctions would total some $330 million for the first year. Hospitals can help to avoid these penalties — and improve their indoor air quality -- by embracing the next-generation of air filtration solutions. Infections will always be a concern for health care facilities and their patients, but it’s a problem that can be tackled, and reduced, efficiently — and soon.
The world leader in air filtration systems, Camfil provides clean air solutions for hospitals, hotels, office buildings, educational institutions, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies. We provide the tools to achieve sustainability, maintain high air quality, and reduce airborne infections — all while lowering total cost of ownership. Camfil customers go green without ever sacrificing performance. For more information, visit us online at http://www.camfil.us or call us toll-free at 888.599.6620.