Attributable Cost of Healthcare-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infection in a Long-term Care Center

Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Jan 29;72(Suppl 1):S27-S33. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa1582.


Background: Studies have shown that healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can lead to substantial healthcare costs in acute care settings. However, little is known regarding the consequences of these infections on patients in long-term care centers (LTCCs). The purpose of this study was to estimate the attributable cost of MRSA HAIs in LTCCs within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study of patients admitted to VA LTCCs between 1 January 2009 and 30 September 2015. MRSA HAIs were defined as a positive clinical culture at least 48 hours after LTCC admission so as to exclude community-acquired infections. Positive cultures were further classified by site (sterile or nonsterile). We used multivariable generalized linear models and 2-part models to compare the LTCC and acute care costs between patients with and without an MRSA HAI.

Results: In our primary analysis, there was no difference in LTCC costs between patients with and without a MRSA HAI. There was, however, a significant increase in the odds of being transferred to an acute care facility (odds ratio, 4.40 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 3.40-5.67]) and in acute care costs ($9711 [95% CI, $6961-$12 462]).

Conclusions: Our findings of high cost and increased risk of transfer from LTCC to acute care are important because they highlight the substantial clinical and economic impact of MRSA infections in this population.

Keywords: MRSA; Veterans; cost; healthcare-associated infections; long-term care; mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection* / epidemiology
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Staphylococcal Infections* / epidemiology