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Published Monday, May 21, 2018

Infections acquired in healthcare settings — known as healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) — occur in 1 of every 25 patients.1 HAIs extend treatment time and hospital stays as well as increase morbidity and mortality levels. In addition to these adverse patient care effects, HAIs create significant burdens for healthcare organizations in the form of associated financial and reputational costs. With several federal initiatives currently under consideration to improve HAI prevention, there's no time like the present for organizations to initiate or enhance their infection surveillance programs.

The cost of HAIs 
In terms of financial impact, HAIs cost hospitals nearly $10 billion annually in direct medical costs.2 The average cost to treat the five most common HAIs is reported at:
 

  • $45,814 for a central line-associated bloodstream infection.
      
  • $40,144 for ventilator-associated pneumonia.
      
  • $20,785 for a surgical site infection.
      
  • $11,285 for a clostridium difficile infection.
      
  • $896 for a catheter-associated urinary tract infection.3
      

Progress report
The good news is that HAI rates appear to be declining, with a 21 percent decrease reported for acute care hospitals between 2010 and 2015.4  The decline is due, in large part, to these various initiatives: 
 

Preventive Measures
In addition to staff adherence to universal infection control precautions, these essential measures help healthcare organizations further reduce the dangers, reimbursement consequences and liabilities associated with HAIs:
 

  1. Environmental Hygiene. Institute an aggressive environmental hygiene program throughout the facility to ensure these goals are met:
    • Educate staff members and physicians about risks associated with frequently contaminated objects and surfaces.
       
    • Limit use of non-critical equipment — such as blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes and EKG wires — to single patients, or provide disposable options.
       
    • Ensure the purchase of waterproof materials that can easily be wiped clean.
       
    • Perform regular risk assessments utilizing the CDC HAI Prevention Toolkits and document corrective measures for noted deficiencies.
       
    • Train housekeeping personnel to thoroughly scrub walls, floors and surfaces at regular intervals with a high-level disinfectant.
       
    • Test surfaces for bacteria and other microbeson a scheduled basis.
       
     
  2. Antibiotic Stewardship. Craft written protocols designed to ensure that antibiotics are prescribed only when medically indicated, in order to curb the proliferation of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia and similar pathogens. In addition, the CDC recommends that all acute care hospitals implement an antibiotic stewardship program, containing seven core elements: 1) leadership commitment, 2) accountability, 3) drug expertise, 4) action, 5) tracking, 6) reporting and 7) education.
     
  3. Injection Practices. Increase staff awareness of unsafe injection practices and their role in outbreaks of various diseases. For materials to aid in this effort, see the CDC One & Only Campaign and its multimedia toolkit, containing educational materials for patients and providers in various healthcare settings.
     

By focusing on environmental surveillance, antibiotic usage restraint and safe injection practices, organizations can significantly reduce HAIs and minimize both liability exposure and non-reimbursable costs.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HAI Data and Statistics. March 2, 2016
2 Barnet, S. "25 Things for Healthcare CFOs to Know about HAIs," Becker's Hospital Review, Oct. 5, 2015.
3 Zimlichman, E., et al. "Health Care-associated Infections: A Meta-analysis of Costs and Financial Impact on the US Health Care System." JAMA Internal Medicine. December 9-23, 2013, Volume173:22, pages 2039-46.
4 According to a report issued by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Insurance for Nurses and Allied Healthcare Providers

With more than 50 years of experience in the healthcare industry, CNA is a trusted leader and top underwriter of healthcare insurance products and services for a wide spectrum of organizations.

As a nurse or allied healthcare provider, your mission is to provide quality healthcare to your patients in a rapidly changing landscape. Whether you're a nurse, certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), nurse practitioner, counselor, physical therapist or pharmacist, you need an insurance carrier that can help you manage a wide range of exposures and challenges in an increasingly litigious environment.

With more than 1 million policyholders, CNA is the largest insurer of professional liability insurance for nurses and allied healthcare providers in the country through our 30-year partnership with the Aon Affinity Insurance Services Nurses Service Organization (NSO) and Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO). We provide individual Healthcare Professional Liability insurance on an occurrence or claims-made form, so that the individual nurse and allied healthcare professional does not rely solely on employer coverage for medical incidents and errors and omissions that may arise.

Through HPSO, CNA also underwrites small healthcare groups, including home healthcare firms, local pharmacies, physical therapy and rehabilitation clinics and counselor offices.

We bring extensive underwriting and claim knowledge to ensure that you have the appropriate coverage levels to address your unique exposures. In the event of a covered claim or license protection matter, our healthcare claim team is dedicated to providing support, guidance and legal representation when required. Our claim studies also provide comprehensive risk control recommendations and guidelines for our core professional specialties. In addition, through the NSO/HPSO partnership, insureds have the opportunity to obtain continuing education credit through a diverse program of webinars and online courses.

Products

Learn more about our Healthcare Professional Liability insurance.

To learn about personal insurance coverages that may be available to you, please visit the Nurses Service Organization, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists or the Healthcare Providers Service Organization if you are an allied healthcare provider or small healthcare group.

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Explore our services designed to help you manage your claims, understand your exposures, address potential losses and maintain business continuity.

CNA offers an array of services designed to help you manage your claims, understand your exposures, address potential losses and maintain business continuity.

Small Business Insurance Fundamentals

Learn more about how to identify the insurance and services you need to safeguard your small business.

For your small business, having the right kind of insurance is critical to success. Are you looking to learn more about the kinds of insurance coverage you need before you contact your local independent agent or broker? We've developed some helpful resources and tools to get you started.

What kind of insurance do I need?
Identifying the right coverages that address your risk exposures and your greatest challenges is important. To help determine your business insurance needs, use this checklist to help guide your discussion with your independent insurance agent.

Why use an independent agent?
Dedicated to offering the broadest selection of policies and coverage to best meet their customers' needs, independent agents represent multiple product lines from more than one carrier. CNA is proud to support the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America and their Young Agents Committee. Find a local independent agent for you.

 

What is risk control?
For small businesses, preventing and controlling risk can be just as important as being properly covered. CNA Risk Control offers a wide range of services focusing on management accountability, cost drivers and business solutions to help you improve your bottom-line profit.

How can I prepare for an emergency?
Learn how to safeguard your small business, your employees and your family in the event of an emergency by visiting Resources to Manage & Reduce Risk for online tools and resources from CNA's own business continuity planners and government organizations.

How can I better prepare for my policy renewal?
Your independent insurance agent is your best resource to ensure your small business has the proper insurance coverage as it changes and grows year over year. Review this list of 10 items to prepare for your conversation about how your business and its insurance needs have changed since your policy was issued.

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