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  • Open Access

Economic analysis of veterans affairs initiative to prevent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections

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Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control20154 (Suppl 1) :O56

  • Published:


  • Infectious Disease
  • Time Frame
  • Staphylococcus Aureus
  • Healthcare System
  • Cost Saving


Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a common cause of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in the US. In October 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched the National MRSA Prevention Initiative, a nationwide effort to reduce MRSA transmission through universal screening and isolation.


The objective of this analysis was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and the budget impact of the initiative.


We developed an economic model using published data on the rate of MRSA HAIs in the VA from October 2007 to September 2010, recently generated estimates of the costs of MRSA HAIs, and the costs associated with the intervention obtained through a microcosting approach. To estimate the rate of MRSA HAIs that would have occurred if the initiative had not been implemented, we used the baseline rate of MRSA HAIs at the beginning of the initiative and two different assumptions of the rate of change: (1) no change and (2) a downward temporal trend in MRSA HAIs rates observed in other healthcare systems in the US during the same time frame. Effectiveness was measured in life-years (LYs) gained. This analysis did not incorporate changes in HAIs due to other organisms, which also may have been affected by this initiative.


We found that during fiscal years 2008-2010, the initiative resulted in an estimated 2,102-3,870 fewer MRSA HAIs. The initiative itself was estimated to cost $93 million over this 3-year period while the cost savings from prevented MRSA HAIs ranged from $28-73 million. The incremental cost-effectiveness of the initiative ranged from $1,648-$8,666/LY. The overall impact on the VA’s budget ranged from $20-$55 million.


A national MRSA surveillance and prevention strategy in VA may have prevented a substantial number of MRSA HAIs. The savings associated with the prevented infections helped to offset some but not all of the cost of the initiative.

Disclosure of interest

None declared.

Authors’ Affiliations

VA Salt Lake City Healthcare System, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Lexington, KY, USA
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA
MRSA/MDRO Program, National Infectious Diseases Service, Veterans Health Administration, Iowa City, IA, USA
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Iowa City, IA, USA


© Nelson et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.