Health care-associated infections (HCAIs) occur in approximately 4-10 percent of hospitalized patients and account for more than 700,000 infections per year.1-4  The annual reported cost associated with these HCAIs is around 30 billion dollars.1,3  Nationally, the trend among medical insurers has been to significantly decrease compensation to medical facilities for these “preventable” occurrences in an attempt to reduce HCAIs to zero. Arguably, this approach has worked – a recent analysis demonstrated a decline in the rate of HCAIs and the probability of acquiring HCAIs three-years post-policy change. This year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published data identifying 758 hospitals that will be penalized financially under the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Act.

Though many countermeasures employed to decrease the number of HCAIs have been largely unsuccessful, proper hand hygiene has consistently...

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