Hospital-acquired Infections: Worse than Wrong Site Surgery

A recent NEJM article, authored by the CDC, estimates that 1 in 25 (4%) of patients contracts an infection as a result of hospitalization. While hospital-acquired infections grab headlines from time to time, the general public and the media tend to give them less attention than say, wrong site surgery. 

I find this paradoxical because I would rather have the wrong knee scoped than contract Acinetobacter pneumonia or Clostridium difficile

Insurers increasingly realize that these infections, which are largely the result of inadequate hand hygiene; unnecessary urinary and central venous catheter insertion; and poor antimicrobial stewardship, are not something for which they should pay. 

Just as someone wouldn't pay for a spotty repair job on one's automobile, insurers shouldn't pay for someone who enters the hospital for, say, a hip replacement and leaves with C.diff, MRSA pneumonia, and a catheter-related UTI.