Pennsylvania became the first state to publicly report the number of patients who contracted an infection while in one of its 168 hospitals last year. A recent report issued by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) indicates that deadly hospital infections are on the rise. According to the report, in Pennsylvania, more than 19,000 patients acquired infections at the hospital resulting in 2.400 deaths. Nationally, 90,000 people died from hospital acquired infections.
A patient who contracts a hospital infection will spend an average of 20.6 days in hospital, costing an average of $185,000.
The Pennsylvania report covers 1.6 million hospital admissions and comes in the middle of a growing effort by employers, insurers and governments to require hospitals to publicly release more data on infections. Under the state's law, hospitals must report infection rates for surgical site infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and blood stream infections.
Unlike some studies, the report looks at infections hospital-wide. It found, on average that 12.2 patients per 1,000 contracted an infection. On average, patients who contracted infections cost private insurers $59,915 for hospital care, compared with $8,311 for those who were not infected.
The topic of hospital infections has been controversial because the infections are usually transmitted by workers who do not wash their hands or by contaminated medical equipment. Quality control experts expect the report will be used by hospitals to improve infection control efforts, which range from requiring consistent hand washing to taking special steps to prevent patients on ventilators from getting pneumonia.
Listed below are some area hospitals' infection rates (per 1,000 patients):
- Butler Memorial 39.4
- Jefferson Regional 28.7
- Allegheny General - 19.9
- Mercy Hospital - 17.4
- St. Clair Memorial - 17.3
- UPMC Presby-Shadyside - 16.2
- Beaver Medical - 10.1
- West Penn Hospital - 9.4
- Westmoreland Regional - 9
- UPMC Passavant - 5.5
Hopefully, the release of this report will place pressure on hospitals to try to improve patient health and safety.
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The Pittsburgh Channel.com