Deadly hospital infection rates vary within states, hospital systems

While U.S. hospitals tend to be a mixed bag when it comes to central-line infection rates--which account for roughly 30,000 deaths annually--105 hospitals throughout the nation were found to have zero central-line infections according to a new study conducted by Consumer Reports. 

Data was gathered from both state reports and the Leapfrog Group, which compared statistics from 926 hospitals in 43 states over a minimum of 1,000 central-line days. Twenty-five of the 43 states had at least one hospital with no central-line infections; California (25) and New York (9) had the most hospitals with no such infections. 

"Eliminating healthcare-associated infections is a top priority for CDC," said Dr. Denise Cardo, director of CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion in response to the study. "The tracking and reporting of healthcare-associated infections is an important step toward healthcare transparency." 

The study found that there wasn't any sort of pattern when it came to such infections. Wide variations existed, not just at hospitals in the same city, but also for facilities within the same healthcare systems. For example, Kaiser Permanente's Harbor City Medical Center in Los Angeles reported zero central-line infections in the 1,769 days its intensive care patients were on such lines in 2008. However, Woodland Hills Medical Center, also a member of Kaiser's stable, reported 13 infections in 1,937 central-line days-four times the national average rate. 

For more information about the study:
- read the Consumer Reports article
- here's a list of the 105 hospitals with no infections
- check out this CDC press release
- find out where your hospital ranks