Value of Public Health Funding in Preventing Hospital Bloodstream Infections in the United States

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Abstract

Objectives

To estimate the association of 1 activity of the Prevention and Public Health Fund with hospital bloodstream infections and calculate the return on investment (ROI).

Methods

The activity was funded for 1 year (2013). A difference-in-differences specification evaluated hospital standardized infection ratios (SIRs) before funding allocation (years 2011 and 2012) and after funding allocation (years 2013 and 2014) in the 15 US states that received the funding compared with hospital SIRs in states that did not receive the funding. We estimated the association of the funded public health activity with SIRs for bloodstream infections. We calculated the ROI by dividing cost offsets from infections averted by the amount invested.

Results

The funding was associated with a 33% (P < .05) reduction in SIRs and an ROI of $1.10 to $11.20 per $1 invested in the year of funding allocation (2013). In 2014, after the funding stopped, significant reductions were no longer evident.

Conclusions

This activity was associated with a reduction in bloodstream infections large enough to recoup the investment. Public health funding of carefully targeted areas may improve health and reduce health care costs.

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