A healthcare institution may face a number of problems if the claim of a heathcare-associated infection (HAI) is made against it. It is important that the institution takes steps to avoid being wrongly accused.


Situations when there may be an increased risk for a false accusation of an HAI:

(1) patient transferred from another facility, including a nursing home

(2) patient with an infection acquired at another facility but with delayed presentation

(3) patient who is admitted with an undiagnosed pneumonia or urinary tract infection

(4) patient who is unable to give a reliable history

(5) healthcare provider diagnosing an infection on insufficient data or unreliable information, especially in a discharge summary

(6) the person coding the hospital stay chose the wrong code


Ways to prevent a false-positive accusation of an HAI:

(1) Take a complete history.

(2) Screen the patient for significant infections before or at the time of admission.

(3) Educate physicians and nurses on when to diagnose an infection as healthcare-associated and when not to.


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