Feb 13, 2012

Details About Infection Rates at America’s Hospitals

You can Discover the Rate of Infection at your Local Hospital

By Carole Larkin  
Alzheimer's Reading Room

On Tuesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that information about central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) will now be included on the government’s Hospital Compare website.

The website will include data about how often these preventable infections occur in hospital intensive care units across the country. CMS says the new feature holds hospitals accountable for bringing down these rates.

CMS officials said that these infections are among the most serious of all health care-associated infections and result in thousands of deaths each year and nearly $700 million in added health care costs.

I get weekly notices from Medicare on the latest happenings. I thought this would be of interest to readers.

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Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) are among the most serious of all healthcare-associated infections, resulting in thousands of deaths each year and nearly $700 million in added costs to the U.S. healthcare system. Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Hospital Compare will now include data about how often these preventable infections occur in hospital intensive care units across the country. This step will hold hospitals accountable for bringing down these rates, saving thousands of lives and millions of dollars each year.

“Including central line-associated bloodstream infections information on Hospital Compare will save lives and cut costs,” said acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “Adding this information to Hospital Compare extends the Administration’s commitment to make American healthcare safer.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in 2009, there were about 41,000 CLABSIs in U.S. hospitals. Studies show that up to 25 percent of patients who get a CLABSI will die from the infection. Caring for a patient with a CLABSI adds about $17,000 to a hospitalization. These infections prolong hospitalizations and can cause death.

“Today, consumers are getting access to data provided to hospital leaders and clinicians to monitor progress in reducing CLABSIs,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “This information allows CDC and CMS to highlight prevention and pinpoint where more work is needed on these avoidable infections.”

Today’s announcement builds on HHS’s efforts to make American healthcare safer. In 2011, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius launched the Partnership for Patients initiative, which seeks to reinvent American healthcare delivery in ways that keep patients from being injured or getting sicker in a care system designed to heal them. CMS has already recruited over 6,000 partners, including more than 3,000 hospitals, in this effort, which aims to reduce preventable harm in hospitals by 40 percent by 2014.

Hospital Compare is one of Medicare’s most popular web tools. The site receives about 1 million page views each month and is available in English and in Spanish. More information about Hospital Compare is online at http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov

Consumers have relied on Hospital Compare since 2005 to provide information about the quality of care provided in over 4,700 of America’s acute-care, critical access and children’s hospitals. The website features free, easy-to-use information about these hospitals, including mortality and readmission rates for each, along with 10 measures that capture patient experience with hospital care, 17 measures that assess patient safety at each hospital, 25 process-of-care measures and three children’s asthma care measures.


Carole Larkin MA,CMC,CAEd,QDCS,EICS,
is a Geriatric Care Manager who specializes in helping families with Alzheimer’s and related dementias issues. She also trains caregivers in home care companies, assisted livings, memory care communities, and nursing homes in dementia specific techniques for best care of dementia sufferers. ThirdAge Services LLC, is located in Dallas, TX.

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Original content Carole Larkin, the Alzheimer's Reading Room