Introduction. Our objective was to assess the cost implications of a vertical MRSA prevention program that led to a reduction in MRSA bacteremia. Methods. We performed a matched historical cohort study and cost analysis in a single hospital in Israel for the years 2005-2011. The cost of MRSA bacteremia was calculated as total hospital cost for patients admitted with bacteremia and for patients with hospital-acquired bacteremia, the difference in cost compared to matched controls. The cost of prevention was calculated as the sum of the cost of microbiology tests, single-use equipment used for patients in isolation, and infection control personnel. Results. An average of 20,000 patients were screened yearly. The cost of prevention was $208,100 per year, with the major contributor being laboratory cost. We calculated that our intervention averted 34 cases of bacteremia yearly: 17 presenting on admission and 17 acquired in the hospital. The average cost of a case admitted with bacteremia was $14,500, and the net cost attributable to nosocomial bacteremia was $9,400. Antibiotics contributed only 0.4% of the total disease management cost. When the annual cost of averted cases of bacteremia and that of prevention were compared, the intervention resulted in annual cost savings of $199,600. Conclusions. A vertical MRSA prevention program targeted at high-risk patients, which was highly effective in preventing bacteremia, is cost saving. These results suggest that allocating resources to targeted prevention efforts might be beneficial even in a single institution in a high incidence country.
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