Doctor and nurse check patient's results.

A small number of skilled nursing facilities saved millions of dollars after implementing a pilot sepsis quality improvement program and focusing on reducing related hospitalizations, according to new study findings published in the Journal of Long-Term Care.

Sepsis episodes treated in hospitals and skilled care facilities cost the system $41 billion each year in the United States.

A New York-based research team found that estimated cost savings from the quality improvement program ranged between $1 million and $3.1 million for 10 SNFs that piloted it. The program aided the providers in determining which sepsis screening and treatments were best by educating staff on the early signs and symptoms of the disease. 

Billing records for the SNFs showed that hospital admissions for residents diagnosed with sepsis ranged between $19,253 and $59,045 per case. 

Prior to SNFs implementing the program, there were 237 hospital admissions for sepsis among the group, with an estimated cost range between about $4.5 million and $14 million 

After implementation, the SNFs saw hospital admissions for sepsis drop to 183, a 22% decrease, with an estimated cost range of about $3.5 million and $10.8 million. 

“Additional benefits included: cooperation among competing facilities to identify best practices and resources that can be shared; upskilling staff whose abilities may then be applied to other medical conditions; the potential for financial savings in SNFs and hospitals; and the mutual benefits for SNFs and neighboring hospitals to work together to focus on reducing avoidable hospitalizations,” investigators concluded.