Healthcare Business News

Hospitals see gains against some infections: CDC

By Maureen McKinney
Posted: February 12, 2013 - 1:00 pm ET

The latest infection-tracking report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought encouraging news on some fronts but less progress on others.

According to the 40-page report, released Feb. 11, U.S. hospitals reported 18,113 central line-associated bloodstream infections during 2011, far fewer than the 30,616 infections that were expected for that year, based on previous data. Additionally, central line infections have fallen 41% since 2008, the CDC said.

The report also noted a 17% drop since 2008 in hospitals' surgical site infections—calculated using data from nine operative procedures—an improvement from the 7% reduction seen in 2010's data.

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But hospitals failed to move the needle on catheter-associated urinary tract infections, the CDC found. Facilities reported a total of 14,315 such infections in 2011, compared with the 15,398 infections the agency had predicted for the 12-month period. In total, the number of catheter-associated urinary tract infections fell 7% from 2009 to 2011, the same level of improvement that was reported in 2010.

In the report, the CDC said the flat performance on catheter infections “may be due to lack of substantial progress in critical-care areas, an inability to substantially decrease catheter days in critical-care areas (as can be done more easily in wards), or both of these factors.”

Despite the uneven gains, the CDC expressed confidence that hospitals would reach the goals outlined in HHS' National Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections. The plan calls for a 50% reduction in central line-associated bloodstream infections, a 25% reduction in surgical site infections and a 25% drop in catheter-associated urinary tract infections, all by the end of 2013.

“Although progress towards the 25% reduction goal for catheter-associated urinary tract infections is moving more slowly, with sustained prevention efforts, the 2013 goal remains attainable,” the CDC said in a news release.

The yearly reports are compiled using data submitted by hospitals to the CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network, an online surveillance network used to gather data on healthcare-associated infections. Nearly half of states require hospitals and other facilities to report HAIs using the CDC's network. The CMS also requires hospitals to report several different types of infections via the network in order to receive their full payment update.

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