Report Reveals Hospital Infection Rates

Report Reveals Hospital Infection Rates

A new report reveals that hospital infections are more common and more dangerous than people think. The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council has disclosed infection rates at all Pennsylvania hospitals, highlighting a nationwide medical negligence problem.

For the first time, people considering checking into a hospital can inquire about that particular hospital’s infection rates.

Advocates for patient safety lauded the report as a big step forward in the national push for hospital “transparency” – the disclosure of the facts potential patients need to make an informed decision about where they get their health care.

“We commend the [council] for shining a light on a problem that has lingered for far too long,” said Lisa McGiffert of the Consumer’s Union.

The Report Findings
Pennsylvania began requiring its hospitals to report certain types of infections in 2005, but now, hospitals must report all infections that were not present when the patient checked in. This report on the year 2005 does not include all infections, so these numbers are likely an underrepresentative of the true number of infections.

The report found an average of 12.2 hospital-acquired infections out of every 1,000 patients.

The report also found that patients who acquired an infection in the hospital were required to spend an average of about 21 days in the hospital. The average cost of treatment for infected patients was $185,260.

Compare this with the patients who didn’t acquire infections in the hospital. Their stays lasted an average of five days, and their treatment totaled an average of $31,389.

Alarmingly, the report showed that a hospital-acquired infection increased the risk of patient death by a factor of more than 5.5 – from 2.3 percent to nearly 13 percent.

The report also found wide discrepancies between various hospitals’ death and infection rates, suggesting unnervingly divergent levels of care at different facilities.

However, the council warned that at this stage, many hospitals are slower in reporting the full range of infections, which can make them appear to have fewer of them, while the hospitals that complied quickly, and reported all forms of hospital-acquired infections may seem disproportionately unsafe simply because they reported more fully.
Advocates hope that the required disclosure of infection rates will force hospitals to take measures to reduce them, thereby saving many lives, and greatly reducing the drain on hospital resources.

Victim of medical malpractice? You may be eligible to recover compensation for your losses, so please contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

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