Hospital-acquired infections are common and public reporting of their incidence is integral to defining “affordable and accountable care.” In the surgical patient population, surgical site infections (SSIs) occur in as many as 5% of patients following inpatient procedures and account for up to 17% of all hospital-acquired infections.1 Over the past 10 years, hospitals have devoted significant resources toward SSI prevention with mixed results. At the same time, the cost of health care in the United States continues to increase. As a means of controlling cost, payers are pushing for outcomes-based reimbursement that will retrospectively adjust payment for service based on adverse short-term patient outcomes. This will be in addition to ongoing surgical process measure–based public reporting related to SSI (surgical care improvement project).
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