Clostridium Difficile Infections

The financial impact of C. Diff is also staggering. A comprehensive study of data from 2005 to 2015 published on the National Institutes of Health uncovered these costs related to treating this condition:

  • Average cost for C. Diff case management was $42,316.
  • Average C. Diff-attributable costs per case were $21,448.
  • Average cost per case of hospital-onset C. Diff was $34,157.
  • Average cost per case of community-onset C. Diff was $20,095.
  • Total annual C. Diff-attributable cost in the United States is approximately $6.3 billion.
  • Total annual C. Diff-related inpatient hospital days was nearly 2.4 million.

The American Medical Association's Journal of Internal Medicine estimates that the current rates of C. Diff add an additional $1.5 billion annually to the cost of health care. Since C. Diff disproportionately affects older patients, Medicare pays for 68 percent of all C. Diff-related hospital stays.

Project Team

At the Center for Transforming Healthcare, we’ve made it our mission to reduce the frequency of C. Diffs — to keep patients safe and to save organizations like yours from costly complications. In December 2013 we launched the Reducing Clostridium Difficile Infections project in collaboration with the CDC and alongside these leading hospitals and health systems:


Project Team
Atlantic Health System, New Jersey
Cleveland Clinic, Ohio
Kaiser Permanente, California
Mayo Clinic, Minnesota
Memorial Hermann, Texas
VA Connecticut Health System, Connecticut
In collaboration with the CDC

Pilot Team
Caldwell Memorial Hospital, North Carolina
Catawba Valley Medical Center, North Carolina
First Health of the Carolinas, North Carolina
Halifax Regional Medical Center, North Carolina
Nash Health Care System, North Carolina
Novant Health, North Carolina
Watauga Medical Center, North Carolina

Project Outcomes

The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare believes that C. Diff rates and mortality can be reduced by focusing on a wide range of patient care aspects that include early identification, antibiotic stewardship, and effective environmental hygiene practices.

The project teams focused on a wide range of factors designed to reduce the risk of patients developing a C. Diff:  guided decision making tools to quickly identify potential C. Diff cases; empowering nurses to take a great role in ordering tests and patient isolation; increased availability of personal protective equipment; detailed audits to ensure every item in patient rooms are disinfected; increased focus on hand hygiene; deployment of proton pump inhibitor (PPI) stewardship guidelines; reducing the use of antibiotics for asymptomatic cases of urinary tract infections.

  • The project team saw an 18.83% relative reduction in the overall, combined rate of C. Diff from 12.25 to 9.98 cases per 10,000 patient days. The combined rate of hospital onset cases of C. Diff fell from 8.98 to 7.69 cases per 10,000 patient days which is a 14.37% relative reduction.  
  • Community onset-healthcare facility associated cases of C. Diff fell from 3.28 to 2.26 cases per 10,000 patient days which is a 31.10% relative reduction.
  • The pilot phase is ongoing. The teams have identified their focus areas and have implemented the targeted solutions focused on their unique opportunities. The final results of this phase will be available in 2018.

Additional Resources 

The following additional resources are available for the C. Diff Infections project: