Sepsis Is a Leading Cause of Death—So Why No Attention, Funding?

May 18, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Risk managers may be interested in a recent article published in the Journal of Healthcare Risk Management that questions why sepsis—a condition with a mortality rate ranging from 20% to 50% that causes more deaths in the United States than breast cancer, heart attack, and the next two leading diseases combined—does not receive the same amount of attention or funding as certain high-profile diseases such as Ebola, and why it doesn't have a structured treatment framework. The article states that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported spending $20 billion for care of sepsis in 2011, and that sepsis hospitalizations cost on average $18,400 per patient—double that of the next most expensive condition. Still, "sepsis is rarely used as a diagnosis, with providers instead using terms such as complications, rapid decline/deterioration, or blood infection to describe the patient's condition."

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