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New Data Indicates That Half Of State Hospitals Exceed Infection Rates


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Photo: C-Hit Team

State health inspectors visiting Stamford Hospital in late 2012 turned up several infection-control violations, including the improper drying and storage of endoscopes, instruments used to look inside the body.
An inspection of Hartford Hospital in 2012 found an operating room with “dust and darkened debris” on top of pumps attached to IV poles, a container of syringes “overflowing” a protective cover, and brownish stains on the floor and underside of the operating table.
These kinds of lapses, while not directly tied to patient infections, have contributed to Connecticut’s poor ratings on some federal measures of hospital-acquired infections.
Newly released data show that more than 50 percent of the state’s hospitals had rates for at least one type of hospital-acquired infection that were worse than federal benchmarks, in late 2012 and 2013. No other state had a higher percentage of its hospitals exceeding the infection standards set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and most states had fewer than 20 percent, according to the data, compiled by Kaiser Health News.
Hospital-acquired infections are caused by viral, bacterial and fungal pathogens. The most common types are bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections. Adverse-event reports filed with the state Department of Public Health show hospital-acquired infections resulted in the deaths or serious injuries of 27 patients between 2005 and 2012.
Jean Rexford, executive director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety, an advocacy group, said that while the state’s hospitals had made good progress in reducing one kind of infection – central line-associated bloodstream infections – rates for catheter-related and surgical site infections were troubling.
“Until we have a true culture of patient safety in our hospitals, we’ll fix one infection, only to have high rates of another infection,” she said. “We’ve got to get all the administrators of our hospitals involved in this. There are known ways to deal with these infections.”
The federal government has been tracking and publishing the rates of infections that patients acquire in hospitals on Medicare’s ‘Hospital Compare’ website since 2012. Starting this fall, hospitals with the worst rates in 2012 and 2013 will lose 1 percent of their Medicare reimbursements for fiscal year 2015.
To read full article: Half Of State Hospitals Exceed Infection Rates, New Data Show

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