Healthy Choices Blog

News and inspiration for healthy living in Northern California

Hospital-acquired infections cost U.S. $10 billion annually

Published: Wednesday, Sep. 11, 2013 - 5:33 pm

You think you go to the hospital to get well – but many patients end up with infections they catch in hospitals, mainly due to unclean conditions or unwashed hands.

A study reported in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal tallied up a cost of $10 billion a year for all those hospital-acquired infections.

If hospitals were to fix all the conditions causing these infections, that’s a huge savings in health care spending, not to mention uncounted lives saved.

To come up with that $10 billion, researchers studied medical literature from 1986 through April 2013. They excluded hospitals outside of the United States.

Here are the five infections researchers focused on and the percent of cost they represented:

1. Surgical site infections = 33.7 % of the total

2. Ventilator-associated pneumonia = 31.6% of the total

3. Central line-associated bloodstream infections = 18.9% of the total

4. Clostrium difficile infections =15.4% of the total

5. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections = <1% of the total

Read more articles by Cynthia H. Craft

About Healthy Choices

Cynthia CraftCynthia H. Craft began her reporting and editing career in Columbus, Ohio, after graduating from Ohio State University. She worked at a Dallas, Texas, newspaper as an editor, and then at the Los Angeles Times, as an editor and Capitol Bureau correspondent. After working as editor in chief at the California Journal, Craft went to Lima, Peru, for three years as a visiting professor of journalism at Peruana Universidad de Ciencias Aplicadas. She was a fellow in 2012 at the National Library for Medicine in Washington, D.C. at the National Institute for Health. She's currently The Sacramento Bee's senior writer on health, a position made possible by a grant from The California Endowment.

Share a story tip or story idea
Phone: (916) 321-1270
On Twitter: @cynthiahcraft.

Healthy Choices Archives

Note: The Healthy Choices blog switched blog platforms in August 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

Sacramento Bee Job listing powered by
Quick Job Search
Sacramento Bee Jobs »
Used Cars
Dealer and private-party ads


Price Range:
Search within:
miles of ZIP

Advanced Search | 1982 & Older