CT Center for Patient Safety Newsletter
InfectionsJune 2010 
In This Issue
Trip to the CDC
Cost of Infections
And just how many are there?

I am off to Atlanta for a meeting at the Centers for Disease Control.  Consumers Union campaign, Stop Hospital Infections, has been instrumental in helping to pass legislation across the country.  When 50% of the states passed bills, and Connecticut passed its bill in 2006, everyone began to pay a lot more attention.  Thanks to CU's efforts and support we are now focusing on addressing a preventable tragedy.
 This is an exciting opportunity for me to interact with their experts and talk to them about your concerns.
And then in July the National Priorities Partnership, a part  of the National Quality Forum, is holding a two day meeting in DC.  The meeting will address the interventions, barriers and gaps in dealing with health care acquired infections.  There is l one other consumer attending this meeting and everone else is an "expert." 
What is the role of the consumer on these committees?  We are all finding our way as this is very new to a lot of "experts".  But clearly the voice of the consumer is demanding accountability and transparency - shining light behind, until recently, effectively locked doors.
Wish me luck!

 Dr. Peter Pronovost's hospital safety and checklist program to prevent ICU central-line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) that, in Michigan, saved an estimated 1,500 lives and $200 million in the first 18 months alone. Dr. Pronovost is now expanding this program nationally, to try to get every hospital ICU to adopt this method of preventing infections.

Many of CT hospitals are beginning to use this checklist. 

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Dear Member,
It is all about infection.  The legislative session is over and we can now focus on an issue that has affected so many of you.  There is a great deal happening at the national and finally at the state level. Preventable infections are infuriating and while I now understand the complexity of hospitals, they remain unacceptable.  Very slow progress is being made - but it is because of our outrage that infections are now being addressed across the country.  There have been individuals within healthcare settings that have tried.  But it has really been the public attention that has made the CEO's pay close attention.  Thank you for your activism - we still have a long way to go.
The cost of infections 
The Centers for Disease Control has just issued a new report.  Using two different Consumer Price Index Adjustments to account for the rate of infection in hospitals, the overall annual direct medical costs of these healthcare acquired infections ranges from $33 to $45 billion.
After adjusting for the range of effectiveness of possible infection control interventions, the benefits of prevention could be as high as $31.5 billion.
And now think of the human costs.

Estimates of Healthcare-Associated Infections
A new report from CDC updates previous estimates of healthcare-associated infections. In American hospitals alone, healthcare-associated infections account for an estimated 1.7 million total infections and 99,000 associated deaths each year. Of these infections:

  • 32 percent of all healthcare-associated infections are urinary tract infections
  • 22 percent are surgical site infections
  • 15 percent are pneumonia (lung infections)
  • 14 percent are bloodstream infections




Hospital A


In the expected range

Hospital B


Better than expected

Hospital C


Worse than expected

Hospital D


In the expected range

Hospital E


In the expected range

Hospital F


In the expected range

Hospital G


In the expected range

Hospital H


In the expected range

And what is this?  Finally in January 2011, Connecticut will be publishing its hospitals' specific infections report.  It is only a beginning.  We will be reporting Centtral Line Infections in the ICU.  What is most important is that we are only one of six states that audits the statistics.  And also important is that we - the public - can quickly look at the color coding and know if XHospital has a higher than expected infection rate.  None of us likes the word "expected", because we know that no one goes into a hospital expecting to get a health care acquired infection.  If you come up with a better word - we will use it!
This is not the final look - the graph will have more columns and explanations but this certainly gives you a good idea of our reporting system. We should feel very good about helping to make this happen