Only 6 percent of 3,000 hospitals examined by Consumer Reports scored well for controlling two of the most serious and prevalent infection-causing bacteria--C. diff and MRSA.
Three out of 10 hospitals got the lowest or next-to-lowest scores for managing clostridium difficile, while 4 out of 10 got similar marks for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus management, Consumer Reports wrote in an article accompanying the ratings.
The good news: 322 hospitals had zero MRSA infections, and 357 had no C. diff infections.
Consumer Reports said it focused on C. diff and MRSA because both are common and deadly. More than 8,000 people die of MRSA infections each year, while C. diff kills at least 27,000 annually, according to the article.
But the consumer safety group said poor ratings related to MRSA and C. diff also "can be a red flag that a hospital isn't following best practices in preventing infections and prescribing antibiotics. That could not only allow C. diff and MRSA to spread but also turn the hospital into a breeding ground for other resistant infections that are even more difficult to treat."
The ratings are based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from October 2013 to September 2014, according to an announcement from Consumer Reports. This year's ratings added MRSA and C. diff to ratings of central-line blood stream infections, surgical-site infections and urinary tract infections associated with catheters.
High-profile hospitals receiving lower ratings included Ohio's Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, the magazine noted.
The nine hospitals ranking highest for overall infection avoidance were Northwest Texas Healthcare System in Amarillo, Texas; Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida; White County Medical Center in Searcy, Arkansas; Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas; Biloxi Regional Medical Center in Biloxi, Mississippi, Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Virginia; Lima Memorial Health System in Lima, Ohio; Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City, Arizona; and South Baldwin Regional Medical Center in Foley, Alabama.
Last month Consumer Reports looked at the rise in antibiotic-resistant infections. The magazine's prescription drugs editor told FierceHealthcare at the time that the U.S. stands to lose the gains it has made in modern medicine if the healthcare industry doesn't take immediate action.
The White House has taken note: President Obama requested an additional $1.2 billion in the 2016 budget to monitor and diagnose antibiotic-resistant superbugs and try to eliminate their spread in healthcare settings.