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Am J Infect Control. 2011 Feb;39(1):27-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2010.09.006.

Cost of screening intensive care unit patients for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in hospitals.

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Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, 420 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.



The objective of this study is to determine the costs per hospital admission of screening intensive care unit patients for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and isolating those who are colonized.


Data on the costs of the intervention come from the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, a 279-bed teaching hospital and outpatient facility. A microcosting approach is used to determine the intervention costs for 3 different laboratory testing protocols. The costs of caring for MRSA-infected patients come from the experience of 241 Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center patients with MRSA infections in 2004 through 2006. The effectiveness of the intervention comes from the extant literature. To capture the effect of screening on reducing transmission of MRSA to other patients and its effect on costs, a Markov simulation model was employed.


The intervention was cost saving compared with no intervention for all 3 laboratory processes evaluated and for all of the 1-way sensitivity analyses considered.


Because of the high cost of caring for a MRSA patient, interventions that reduce the spread of infections-such as screening intensive care unit patients upon admission studied here-are likely to pay for themselves.

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