PHC4 Research Brief - MRSA in Pennsylvania Hospitals - News Release


Contact: Joe Martin, Communications Director
717-232-6787 or


Harrisburg, PA - August 25, 2006 - In 2004, there were 13,722 Pennsylvania hospitalizations in which patients had a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) - related infection, according to a new research brief released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). MRSA is a more serious form of the Staphylococcus aureus (often called "staph") bacteria and is a major health concern because of its resistance to commonly used antibiotics such as methicillin.

"MRSA, a virulent form of drug-resistant bacteria, can be community-acquired or hospital-acquired," said Marc P. Volavka, Executive Director of PHC4. "Yet no matter where MRSA is contracted, it can have significant health and financial consequences, and represents a titanic public health challenge." PHC4's latest report, being released today, does not distinguish between community and/or hospital-acquired MRSA infections.

Compared to patients without a MRSA infection, patients with a MRSA infection were four times as likely to die, had hospital stays more than two and a half times longer, with hospital charges three times as much for the hospitalization.

Specifically, the mortality rates for patients with and without a MRSA infection in 2004 were 8.9% and 2.1%, respectively. On average, patients with a MRSA infection stayed in the hospital eight days longer than patients without a MRSA infection. Whereas the average charge of a hospitalization with a MRSA infection was $87,990, the average charge for a hospitalization without a MRSA infection was $28,711.

In July of 2005, Pennsylvania (PHC4) became the first state to publicly report hospital-acquired infection numbers, and has issued two subsequent infection reports. Those reports have focused on four types of hospital-acquired infections (central line-associated bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, surgical site infections, and indwelling catheter-associated urinary tract infections).

PHC4 is now reporting that of the 1,932 patients identified by hospitals as having hospital-acquired bloodstream infections in year 2004, 11.2% (217) had a MRSA infection. Of the 1,335 patients with hospital-acquired pneumonia, 9.2% (123) had a MRSA infection. Of the 1,317 patients with hospital-acquired surgical site infections, 6.6% (87) had a MRSA infection. Of the 6,139 patients with hospital-acquired urinary tract infections, 3.3% (200) had a MRSA infection. It is not known if MRSA was the bacteria responsible for these hospital-acquired infections.

Other findings:

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council is an independent state agency charged with collecting, analyzing and reporting information that can be used to improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care in Pennsylvania. Copies of MRSA in Pennsylvania Hospitals are free and available on the Council's website at or by calling PHC4 at 717-232-6787.