Hospitals report to fight infections

Following state law, hospitals in California reported cases of healthcare-associated infections (HAI), including central-line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and clostridium difficile infections (CDI), according to new data from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

State health officials said reporting infection data will guide hospitals to make appropriate improvements.

The reports looked at the infection rates of different patient locations throughout the hospital. According to the reports, 7.3 percent of hospitals had at least one patient care location CLABSI rate statistically below the state average, while 14.8 percent reported at least one patient care location CLABSI rate above it.

The health department also found that long-term acute care hospitals reported more than twice the amount of clostridium difficile infections than general acute care hospitals, due in part because long-term care facilities experience longer patient stays.  

Among hospitals, 49 percent reported no MRSA, although major teaching and long-term acute care hospitals saw significantly higher rates than pediatric or community hospitals, the reports noted.

To eliminate HAIs, California hospitals are embracing preventative efforts such as partaking in the California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative or requiring central-line insertion practices.

Mercy Medical Center, which reported seven hospital-onset MRSA infections, educates its staff and visitors about important hygiene practices, reported the Merced Sun-Star. The hospital also set up stations with hand sanitizer, masks, tissue and gowns at every major public access point.

Meanwhile, staff at Memorial Hospital Los Banos carefully screens the use of antibiotics to treat infections so that patients get the recommended antibiotic for the recommended amount of time, noted the article.

"Changes that are made to improve quality of care as a result of these data will potentially save hundreds of lives in California each year," CDPH Director Ron Chapman said in a statement.

For more information:
- read the CDPH press release
- check out the reports
- read the Merced Sun-Star article