New York Hospitals Continue to Make Progress in Reducing Rates of Infections

State Health Department's Fourth Annual Report on Hospital-Acquired Infections Shows Decline in Rates for Central-Line Blood Stream Infections and Surgical Site Infections

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 20, 2011) – The number of infections acquired by patients while in New York hospitals continues to decline, according to a new report issued by the New York State Department of Health.

The fourth annual report on Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAI), which includes rates of infections for individual hospitals, found that since 2007 the rate of central-line associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs) has fallen 37 percent and rates of surgical site infections for selected procedures fell by 15 percent.

"The progress made in New York to reduce hospital-acquired infections demonstrates strong collaboration and shows that an active commitment to patient safety can make a difference," State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., said. "We commend hospitals across the state for their efforts to reduce infection rates, and will continue to challenge health care providers to adopt best practices to further reduce infections."

The report presents 2010 hospital-acquired infection rates identified by hospitals for surgical site infections related to colon, cardiac bypass, and hip replacement/revision surgeries; CLABSIs in adult, pediatric, and neonatal intensive care units; and Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections identified on admission, during hospital visits, and on readmission within four weeks after discharge from the same hospital. For surgical site infections and CLABSIs, the report also provides individual hospitals' infection rates in 2009 for comparison.

For the first time, the report includes C. difficile infection rates for individual hospitals and the state. New York is also the first state to publicly report validated C. difficile infection rates and has taken the lead in making hospitals aware of this emerging issue by systematic reporting and validating the reported data.

Among the major findings of the report:

  • No hospital in New York State had HAI rates above state averages across all reporting categories.
  • The 37 percent reduction in adult/pediatric/neonatal CLABSIs in New York hospitals since 2007 has not only protected the health of patients, but also led to an estimated savings of between $7.3 million and $29.4 million due to decreased length of hospital stays and preventing the need for additional treatment.
  • In 2010 the statewide rate for surgical site infections was 5.0 percent after colon surgery, 2.2 percent for chest incision infections after cardiac bypass surgery, and 1.1 percent for hip replacement/revision surgery. These rates represent a 15 percent overall decrease since 2007, and have helped to achieve estimated savings of between $7.9 million and $23.1 million due to decreased length of hospital stays and preventing the need for additional treatment.
  • In 2010, the State C. difficile hospital-onset infection rate was 8.2 infections per 10,000 patient days. Hospital-onset infection rates ranged from 0-21 infections per 10,000 patient days.

Projects funded by New York State Department of Health (DOH) to prevent hospital-acquired infections continue to result in reductions in targeted infections and improve the quality of patient care and safety. New York State conducts intensive audits to ensure complete and accurate reporting of all HAIs required to be reported. In 2010, only five other states conducted audits on the accuracy of CLABSI reporting.

In addition, New York State is implementing a new federal requirement that will reduce or eliminate Medicaid payments to hospitals and health care providers for services related to preventable health care acquired illnesses or injuries. This federal rule will provide further incentive for hospitals to reduce HAIs.

The full report, including hospital-specific results, is available on the DOH web site at: