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Medicare News

Medicare Adds Hospital Infection Rate Data to Hospital Compare Web Site

Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) kill about 25% of those infected; CMS to hold hospitals accountable

CMS Administrator Marilyn TavennerFeb. 8, 2012 – Medicare’s Hospital Compare now includes data about how often central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) occur in U.S. hospital intensive care units. Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says with this data it will hold hospitals accountable for bringing down these rates, saving thousands of lives and millions of dollars each year.

CLABSIs are among the most serious of all healthcare-associated infections, resulting in thousands of deaths each year and nearly $700 million in added costs to the U.S. healthcare system.

“Including central line-associated bloodstream infections information on Hospital Compare will save lives and cut costs,” said acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in making the announcement yesterday.

“Adding this information to Hospital Compare extends the Administration’s commitment to make American healthcare safer.”

 

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in 2009, there were about 41,000 CLABSIs in U.S. hospitals. Studies show that up to 25 percent of patients who get a CLABSI will die from the infection. Caring for a patient with a CLABSI adds about $17,000 to a hospitalization. These infections prolong hospitalizations and can cause death.

Nancy Foster, Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety Policy at the American Hospital Association discusses CMS' Hospital Compare website and how it can be used in conjunction with other tools to improve patient safety and care.

“Today, consumers are getting access to data provided to hospital leaders and clinicians to monitor progress in reducing CLABSIs,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “This information allows CDC and CMS to highlight prevention and pinpoint where more work is needed on these avoidable infections.”

Yesterday’s announcement said this builds on HHS’s efforts to make American healthcare safer. In 2011, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius launched the Partnership for Patients initiative, which seeks to reinvent American healthcare delivery in ways that keep patients from being injured or getting sicker in a care system designed to heal them.

CMS has already recruited over 6,000 partners, including more than 3,000 hospitals, in this effort, which aims to reduce preventable harm in hospitals by 40 percent by 2014.

Hospital Compare is one of Medicare’s most popular web tools. The site receives about 1 million page views each month and is available in English and in Spanish. More information about Hospital Compare is online at http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov

Consumers have relied on Hospital Compare since 2005 to provide information about the quality of care provided in over 4,700 of America’s acute-care, critical access and children’s hospitals. The website features free, easy-to-use information about these hospitals, including mortality and readmission rates for each, along with 10 measures that capture patient experience with hospital care, 17 measures that assess patient safety at each hospital, 25 process-of-care measures and three children’s asthma care measures.

 

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