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New York hospitals continue to reduce rates of infections

ALBANY – The number of infections acquired by patients while in New York hospitals continues to decline, according to a report issued by the New York State Department of Health (DOH).

The sixth-annual report on hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), which includes rates of infections for individual hospitals, found that since 2007 the rate of central-line associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs) has fallen 53 percent and rates of surgical site infections (SSIs) for selected procedures fell by 16 percent.

Since 2010, the rate of Clostridium difficile(C. difficile) infections rose by 14 percent among the 89 hospitals that switched to a more sensitive laboratory test capable of detecting more cases, but fell by 15 percent among the 88 hospitals which used the same type of test throughout the reporting period.

"Patients deserve the peace-of-mind of knowing the hospital they receive treatment from utilizes best practices to protect their safety," said State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H. "Preventing hospital-acquired infections is a key component of patient safety, and we will continue to proactively work with hospitals to reduce the number of these infections."

The report presents 2012 hospital-acquired infection rates identified by hospitals for surgical site infections related to colon, cardiac bypass, hip replacement/revision surgeries, and hysterectomies performed through an abdominal incision; CLABSIs in adult, pediatric, and neonatal intensive care units; and C. difficile infections identified on admission, during hospital visits, and on readmission within four weeks after discharge from the same hospital.

The report also provides individual hospitals' infection rates in 2011 for comparison. DOH conducts intensive audits to ensure complete and accurate reporting of all HAIs required to be reported.