Revenue Leak Soon Turns to Flood: Payment Penalties for High Infection Rates Draining Hospital Finances

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Clearstream officials comment on the propensity of secondary infections contracted at hospitals and the fact that they are often not covered by insurance – which could not only compromise patient care, but could also leave hospital systems at severe financial risk.

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Medicare’s policy presents healthcare systems with an impetus to enact stringent disinfection protocols which limit patient exposure to viral and bacterial contaminants.

According to the Alliance for Aging Research, 1.7 million Americans develop hospital-acquired infections each year, and 99,000 people die annually – the economic burden of which varying reports show to range anywhere from $30.5 billion to $45 billion per year (1) (3). In response, Medicare ceased paying for patient care resulting from secondary infections in a bid to encourage hospitals to do more to prevent such infections. Clearstream, LLC, a diversified provider of environmentally safe antimicrobial products and services, maintains the liabilities posed by hospital acquired infections, combined with the financial impact, not only put American lives at risk but also leave healthcare systems with the burden of the associated high costs of treatment. Clearstream advocates for the use of sophisticated application protocols and advanced long-term biostatic antimicrobial technologies as a critical aspect of protecting public health, in addition to limiting the financial liabilities of healthcare systems throughout the U.S.

In 2009, Medicare instituted a policy which stated that the program will not cover the costs of "preventable" conditions, mistakes and infections resulting from a hospital stay. (2) With the instatement of Medicare’s policy, hospital patients on Medicare who pick up a hospital-acquired infection find that the extra cost of treating it is picked up by the hospital itself since the hospital isn’t allowed to charge it to the patient.

According to Clearstream CEO Jim Praechtl, the potential financial impact of secondary infections can drain the already limited resources of healthcare systems nationwide unless steps are taken to reduce the number of secondary infections reported annually.

“Medicare’s policy presents healthcare systems with an impetus to enact stringent disinfection protocols which limit patient exposure to viral and bacterial contaminants,” said Praechtl. “It is an accomplishable task if healthcare systems recognize the efficacy of advanced cleaning technology protocols and institute it as a viable part of the overall solution in infectious disease control.”

According to Betsy McCaughey of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, hospitals infections add an estimated $30.5 billion to the nation’s hospital costs each year – signaling a need for more rigorous hand hygiene, meticulous cleaning of equipment and rooms in between patient use, among other sanitary efforts. (3)

But Praechtl adds that while stricter hygiene is critical, there still remains a sizable gap in a hospitals’ ability to reduce the exposure level of bacterial and viral contaminants from common touch surfaces. This is especially true in patient’s rooms that only receive terminal cleaning when a patient is discharged. This is where the operative use of a cost effective and proven biostatic antimicrobial can play a vital role in the reduction of hospital-acquired infections.

Clearstream’s durable biostatic antimicrobial technology (mPale) bonds to treated surfaces. mPale is not consumed by microorganisms, but instead delivers an electromechanical mode of action that will not allow mutations or adaptive strains to form. This technology is safe for applicators, healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, visitors and for the patients. The mPale product technology it will not impose any unwanted or unforeseen complications to a patient’s care.

mPact, Clearstream’s service division, offers a two-step protective solution consisting of EPA- and FDA-registered products:

1. mPerial® Detergent/Disinfectant provides sanitization and disinfection that eliminate a broad spectrum of bacteria, fungi and viruses, and is proven effective against, but not limited to, Norovirus (Norwalk virus), MRSA, HIV-1, and Vancomycin intermediate resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VISA).

2. mPale® Antimicrobial with ÆGIS Microbe Shield® is a surface protection technology that renders offending microbes inactive, while doing so safely. Its unique design allows the formula to bond with virtually all surfaces, and provides a non-leaching, non-toxic and environmentally-safe long-term protection.

Clearstream’s antimicrobial technology helps to keep infection transmission rates low due to its unique property of creating a new antimicrobial surface that will reduce the threat of pathogenic surface transmission once it cures. Unlike bleach or other short term disinfectants, mPale which delivers biocidal effectiveness upon application, impressively transforms itself into a bacteriostatic protective finish.

Applying mPale as the final step of the cleaning and disinfecting protocol will add a layer of protection on those at-risk surfaces that need protecting the most. mPale is not a substitute for proper cleaning and disinfecting protocols, it is a reinforcement and supporting component to those protocols.

Clearstream acknowledges that adding mPale to a hospital’s cleaning and disinfecting protocols doesn’t happen without associated costs, but these costs are minor compared to the costs associated with the losses healthcare systems can incur when caring for patients re-entering their facilities because of secondary infections.

Clearstream offers a wide range of EPA registered products and approved services dedicated to reducing cross contamination of harmful bacteria and viruses such as MRSA, Staph, H1N1 and more that can reach beyond our nation’s healthcare systems. Clearstream is currently in discussions with the UN, the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, USAID, US Military and Samaritan’s Purse in an effort to help reduce the suffering from the Ebola Virus in West Africa.

About Clearstream, LLC:

Clearstream is a multi-dimensional and diversified provider of products and services that combine multiple disciplines. Clearstream’s environmentally-safe, corrective and long-term protective solutions employ advanced antimicrobial formulations in the fight against microbial cross-contamination and surface degradation. The company is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has partner-run operations in Florida, Texas, South Carolina and Pennsylvania. For more information, visit http://www.thinkclearstream.com.

1. "99,000 Americans Die of Healthcare-Aquired Infections Every Year." N.p., 27 July 2014. Web. 21 Oct. 2014. healthline.com/health-news/aging-healthcare-acquired-infections-kill-nearly-a-hundred-thousand-a-year-072713.

2. "Medicare Will Not Pay For Hospital Mistakes And Infections, New Rule."Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 20 Aug. 2007. Web. 21 Oct. 2014. medicalnewstoday.com/articles/80074.php>.

3. McCaughey, Betsy. "Unnecessary Deaths: The Human and Financial Costs of Hospital Infection S." (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 6 Nov. 2014. hospitalinfection.org/ridbooklet.pdf.

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