Users of the CMS’ Hospital Compare website can now access their hospital’s rates of dangerous and preventable central line-associated bloodstream infections. Facility-specific infection data is posted on the agency’s site and will be updated quarterly.
Hospital Compare adds central line infection data
The move drew praise from patient-safety advocates, who have championed increased transparency and the use of checklists and other tools to reduce such infections.
“Consumer advocates across the nation have worked tirelessly to end the secrecy over hospital infection rates,” said Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project, in a news release. “This is a milestone for patient safety that begins to make hospitals accountable for the 2 million patients who are infected each year,” she added, referring to the estimated total number of patients affected annually by hospital-acquired infections.
“Finally, Americans in all 50 states will be able to find out how well their hospital prevents these particular infections,” McGiffert added. “Public disclosure drives hospitals to improve care and helps patients choose hospitals with better safety records.”
According to revisions to the inpatient prospective payment system, issued in July 2010, hospitals were required to begin reporting their rates of central-line infections beginning in January 2011 in order to receive their full payment update for 2013.
The CMS also stipulated that hospitals must report their infection rates through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network, a secure online surveillance system that uses standardized definitions and protocols.
“This information allows CDC and CMS to highlight prevention and pinpoint where more work is needed on these avoidable infections,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a CMS news release.
There were about 41,000 central line-associated bloodstream infections in 2009, resulting in thousands of deaths and totaling nearly $700 million in additional healthcare costs, according to CDC data quoted in the CMS release.
The central line infection data appears under Hospital Compare’s “patient safety measures” tab, alongside measures of hospital-acquired conditions such as pressure ulcers and serious complications such as post-surgical blood clots.
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